There are more than 100 types of apples grown commercially in the United States, and Georgia is home to some of the best. Apple picking is one of the favorite fall activities to do in Georgia, but you’ve got to know when they juicy fruits are just right for picking.
You may be asking yourself, “When are apples in season here in Georgia?” We’ve got the answer: Apple season in Georgia runs mid-August through mid-October. There are 22 different types of apples typically grown in the state, and each one is harvested at a different time.
Read on to find out what types of apples you can find in the state, and when to go picking your favorite variety.
TYPES OF APPLES IN GEORGIA
Although there are 100 different types of apples grown in the U.S., 90 percent of the production is from just 15 different varieties, according to the U.S. Apple Association. We looked through the list and found the most popular types of apples that can be found in Georgia.
Let’s learn a bit more about Georgia’s most popular types of apples!
Fuji. Originally developed in Japan in the late 1930s, and named after the famous Mt. Fuji, U.S.-grown Fujis began appearing in markets in the 1980s. Fuji is a cross between Ralls Janet and Red Delicious. The flavor is sweet and this apple has a nice firmness. You can usually tell a Fuji by its yellow- and red-striped appearance.
Red Delicious. This is the apple I remember from my childhood. In fact, it is the most widely recognized of all the apple varieties in the U.S., probably because it’s been around since the 1870s. Red Delicious is a sweet, crispy, juicy apple. This apple is best eaten fresh, and is my dad’s favorite to add to salads.
Gala. This is another relative newcomer in the U.S. and is fast becoming a favorite. It originated in New Zealand and was brought to the United States in the early 1970s. These apples are crisp, juicy, and very sweet. Gala is ideal for snacking, which is probably why it’s our go-to for lunch boxes.
Braeburn. I’ve never heard of this variety, even though it’s been around since the 1950s. Braeburn is a multipurpose apple, good for all types of apple uses. Its color varies from orange to red over a yellow background. A crisp, juicy apple, the Braeburn has a rich, spicy-sweet flavor.
Honeycrisp. Another favorite in our house, this apple — developed by the University of Minnesota — has a honeyed, mild flavor. It’s crisp, juicy and sweet. Honeycrisp’s skin is a distinctive mottled red over a yellow background, with coarse flesh. This apple is good for snacking, salads, and sauce-making. It also stores really well.
Jonagold. A blend of Jonathan and Golden Delicious apples, New York native Jonagold offers a unique honey-tart flavor and crispy, juicy, nearly yellow flesh. It debuted in 1968, a product of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. It’s good for eating or cooking.
Granny Smith. Another apple from my childhood. These were known as the “green ones” at my house! The flavor is very tart, which is probably why I prefer these to the Red Delicious. An all-purpose apple, Grannies work equally well as a snack or in pies and sauce.
Empire. Empires premiered in 1966 in the Empire State of New York. They are a cross between Red Delicious and McIntosh, developed by the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station. This crisp, juicy apple has a delightful sweet-tart flavor and creamy white flesh — making it a good all-purpose apple.
Golden Delicious. Yellow with an occasional pink blush, Golden Delicious has a mild, sweet flavor. Golden Delicious have a buttery, honey taste that is great for baking, especially when you mix them with more tart apples like Granny Smiths.
Pink Lady Brand (Cripps Pink Variety). Developed in Western Australia, Cripps Pink is a cross of Golden Delicious and Lady Williams.
Stayman Winesap. Okay, this one wasn’t on the list — but it’s my favorite. I love this crunchy tart-tasting apple that makes your mouth pucker. As an added bonus, these are also good for baking too.
BEST APPLES FOR BAKING AND EATING
Baking. Baking apples should be able to hold their shape after being cooked. The best baking apples are Jonagold, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Stayman Winesap, Braeburn, Rome Beauty, Golden Delicious and Gala.
Eating. This really depends on what type of apple you like. I enjoy tart apples, so the Winesaps are perfect for me. If you like sweet apples, you’ll enjoy Fuji, Honeycrisp, Gala, Golden Delicious or Red Delicious apples.
WHERE TO GO APPLE PICKING
Want to go apple picking? Our state is so lucky to have some really great north Georgia apple orchards. Whether you want to pick your own, or just pick up a peck at their store fronts, there are so many great choices of places to go.
Ellijay is a great place to find apple orchards — they even hold an annual festival celebrating the fruit!
In Ellijay, you’ll find family owned an operated orchards like Hillcrest Orchards and Farms — which offers a maze through the apple trees. Or head to BJ Reece Orchards, where you’ll not only find apples, but also wagon rides, pig races, apple cannons and more. Red Apple Barn also offers U-pick apples — and they have a pumpkin patch, too!
If you’re headed to Blue Ridge, make sure you stop by Mercier Orchards — known as the largest apple orchard in the southeast! They not only offer U-pick apples, but also fried pies, apple cider, apple butter and fritters that come from the fruit! Yum!
Jaemor Farms in Alto is another great stop. They only offer U-pick apples on certain weekends, so make sure to check their Facebook page for updates.
Read More: ESSENTIAL APPLE PICKING IN GEORGIA GUIDE
WHEN ARE APPLES READY FOR PICKING
The season for apple picking near Atlanta begins in August and runs through mid-October. Not all apples are ready to pick at the same time, which means if you are picky about your variety of apple, you need to know when they are ripe for picking.
Below is a users guide for when certain apples are available in Georgia. This is just a guide. Apples ripen at slightly different times. Color — whether red, yellow or green doesn’t matter — it’s the type of apple that makes a difference.
Ripening times also depend on the amount of rain during the spring and summer. It’s best to call the apple orchard before you go to see what they are picking.
APPLE VARIETIES BY THE MONTH
July Apples: Early McIntosh are usually available in late July. They have a tart flavor and are good for eating and cooking.
Early August Apples: Early August you can find Gala, which are very sweet and good for eating fresh, as well as apple pies. Ginger Gold’s are sweet eating apples and Detroit Red and Ozark Gold are tart cooking apples.
Mid August Apples: Lots of popular apple varieties are available mid-late August including: McIntosh, Jonathon, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Empire, and Honey Crisp (my son’s new favorite). McIntosh is a sweet/tart apple good for cooking and eating. Jonathan’s are tart and best for cooking. The bright Red and Golden Delicious some of the most popular varieties. These are sweet eating apples, as is the Honey Crisp. Empire are tart cooking apples.
Early September Apples: Mutsu and Jonagold are early September apples. Both are sweet/tart and good for cooking, as well as eating.
Mid September Apples: Rome Beauty and my favorite the Stayman Wine Sap are mid September apples. Rome is slightly tart, while Stayman’s can make your pucker. Both of these apples are great for cooking pies, making apple butter, and eating.
Early October Apples: Granny Smith are tart eating/cooking apples available in early October.
Mid October Apples: Fuji, which I love, and Arkansas Black, which I don’t, are available in mid-October. The Fuji is a very sweet medium-sized apple, but the Arkansas Black are super hard, tart apples.
Late October Apples: Yates, Brae Burn and Pink Lady are all sweet apples available in late October.
MORE INFORMATION ON FALL FUN IN GEORGIA
- APPLE FESTIVAL: Ellijay Apple Festival: Fall Fun For The Whole Family
- PUMPKIN PATCHES: 17+ Best Pumpkin Patches in Georgia for a Smashing-Good Time
- CORN MAZES: 21+ Family-Friendly Corn Mazes in Georgia To Get Lost In
- HAUNTED HOUSES: Horrific Haunted Houses in Atlanta You Need to Visit
- FALL FESTIVALS: The 50+ Best Fall Festivals In Georgia That You’ll Love
- FALL COLOR: 13 Best Georgia State Parks for Gorgeous Fall Leaf Color
WHERE TO STAY WHEN APPLE PICKING IN GEORGIA
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