September 26, 2006
Plenty of sunshine, cool temperatures and nice breeze are all the ingredients for a perfect apple picking outing. The lack of rainfall seemed to make very little impact on the apple crop.
Carter Mountain Orchard sits almost 1,200 feet above Charlottesville and while the views of the city are beautiful, it's the apples most visitors come for.
"We start harvesting our early apples in mid-august and we'll harvest all the way through October, early November, so it's a long season", explained Cynthia Chiles, Manager of Carter Mountain Orchard, and who's family owns the Orchard.
Dry weather can have an adverse effect on the size of the apple.
"The dry weather this summer certainly slowed down the growth a bit,” says Chiles. “Some of the apples, some varieties are a little smaller than normal, but the nice rain we've had over the last three or four weeks, has kind of pumped back up."
With plenty of varieties to choose from, specific types of apples are harvested at different times.
"Right now we are picking golden delicious and red delicious and in the next week or ten days, we are going to start picking the good October apples; Granny Smith, Stayman, Fuji, Winesap, Braeburn, York. All the ones you can think of will be ripe in the next week or 10 days,” Chiles said.
Actually picking the apple off the tree is a lot easier than deciding which kind of apple to pick.
"When folks come up here to pick apples, we give them good instructions, no experience necessary, you just find the one that looks good to you on the tree and reach up and give it a little tug and then put it in your bag. It's pretty simple,” Chiles explained and also demonstrated.
There are plenty of fall activities taking place at the Orchard. For more information, visit the Carter Mountain Orchard at www.cartermountainorchard.com.