Did you know that North Carolina grows amazing apples? And right now is peak apple-picking season at orchards all across the state.
Because apple trees need a sufficient period of cold to induce dormancy, it’s actually too warm in the eastern portion of the state to grow really good apples. But we have orchards as far east as Chapel Hill, with plenty more as you move into the mountains of western NC, especially in the Henderson, Haywood, Wilkes and Cleveland areas.
Our favorite way to find NC apple orchards and roadside stands closest to the Bed and Breakfast where you’re staying is to use the search directory at NCfarmfresh.com.
And of course, your innkeeper is wellspring of local information and hidden treasures. Be sure to ask their advice!
Apples aren’t a native crop to NC, but early settlers to the area brought seeds and saplings with them — and they thrived in the mountains and foothills. There are four major varieties that make up most of North Carolina’s apple production: Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome, and Stayman. Over 40 other varieties are grown, but on a limited basis.
If you’re lucky enough to visit one of the orchards to hand-pick your apples fresh from the tree, look for firm apples without blemishes. TWIST, don’t pull, from the branch. Our innkeepers recommend that once you get apples home, store in a cool spot (fridge, cellar, etc) and they’ll stay fresh for several weeks. Don’t wash until just before eating or preparing to use in a recipe.
Apple Recipes from NCBBI Member Innkeepers
There are a few wonderful apple recipes in the NC Bed and Breakfast Inns cookbook. Don’t already have the cookbook? No worries. Here are two innkeepers’ favorite apple-centric recipes on the website for instant gratification. Check out the other recipes in that section for other delicious ideas.
Click the photos to get to to the recipes.
This Apple Bread Pudding is from Rosemary House Bed and Breakfast in central NC. Innkeeper, Karen Pullen recommends that you assemble this homemade comfort food the night before and bake first thing in the morning so the kitchen smells are wonderful. No one will dare hit the snooze button!
The weather is perfect for making this hot Spiced, Mulled Apple Cider from Big Mill Bed and Breakfast near Greenville, NC. Innkeeper Chloe Tuttle says, “If you cook in a crock pot, the cider stays warm and the aroma is fabulous. If you want to add a kick to the cider, just add brandy to the cup — or serve virgin.”
CiderFest NC is Just Around the Corner
Early North Carolinians pressed most of their apple crop for the juice needed to make cider and vinegar. Cider kept well for a long time (refrigerators hadn’t been invented yet). The cider was a safe alternative when no clean water could be found and the apple cider vinegar was used to preserve foods needed to get families through the cold winter months.
Fast forward to 2015:
Hard cider (aka cider with an alcoholic kick) is more popular than ever. On November 7th, from 1:00 – 5:00 pm, CiderFest, North Carolina’s premier hard cider tasting event, returns to Asheville’s WNC Farmers Market for the 3rd year.
This popular fundraising event features over twenty hard cider makers from all over the region, as well as special guest from out of state, and imported Spanish ciders, local mead makers, food pairings, local arts & crafts, live music, and an interactive children’s area. The WNC Cheese Trail will also be there offering samples from local creameries. Be sure to purchase your tickets early because the event is expected to sell out.
To find a NC B&B Association member nearby, check our directory of inns.