From tree to table—Apple season is here!

23 October 2020
Young boy picking and apple

It is the time of year where an apple a day has never been easier! 

Virginia’s prime apple pickin’ time is nearing an end but there is still time to pick the BEST apple! We have put together a “from the tree to the table” idea for your family—apple picking and treat making! Check out our guide to picking the best apples, then turning them into yummy caramel apples!

Step 1—Choose your apples! 
There are a few ways you can achieve picking the perfect apple for your caramel apples. MY favorite way is to pick your own! If you are in Virginia, here are two places I recommend getting the perfect apples in the heart of apple country—the Blue Ridge!

Carter Mountain Orchard— Carter Mountain may be a bit of a drive (about 3 hours from most places in Hampton Roads), but it is WORTH it! Carter Mountain Orchard overlooks dramatic vistas and acres and acres of fruit trees and grapevines in the heart of the rolling mountains of the Blue Ridge on the outskirts of Charlottesville. Get tickets in advance to pick your own apples, enjoy their homemade apple cider donuts, and even enjoy an adult treat at their Bold Rock Cider tasting room. This orchard is not just apple picking—it’s a whole day experience!

Henley Orchard— Just a few miles to the West of Carter Mountain in Crozet, Virginia is Henley Orchard. The orchard was established in 1932 by Joseph T. Henley, Sr. He earned a degree in agriculture from VPI&SU and was Virginia’s first fruit inspector! Late-season apples are kept in cold storage and are available throughout the winter until April. Henley’s Orchard uses low-spray practices, and Henley fruit is carried by local markets all over Central Virginia. Caterers and restaurants with the highest standards of quality prefer Henley's Orchard fruit, the finest in Virginia.

OR if you can't make it to the orchard, there is always the grocery store!
If you find yourself headed to the grocery store because it is close and convenient, and FASTER than a trip to the orchard, here is a guide on the best apples in season right now to pick for your caramel apple:

Gala- this apple, though sweeter, provides a great base for those of us that like a SWEET caramel apple, and is in season through late October!
Honeycrisp- MY personal favorite to make a caramel apple with as this apple provides a perfect balance of sweet AND tart, and is in stores FRESH with the season just near the tailend, so grab your bunch today! 
Granny Smith- the TARTIEST of the tart apples! This apple provides the opposite end of the taste spectrum for your sweet caramel covering, and is in season NOW through mid November!

Step 2 (and the only other step!)— Make your caramel apples!
There are so many ways to make a caramel apple, but I believe in keeping in simple. Check out this super simple recipe—and don’t forget, an apple a day keeps the DR away! (though, maybe not a caramel apple a day…)

Staff Guest Blog by Alex Pomozzi, Content Director for the YMCA of South Hampton Roads