Millstone Creek Orchards (Apple Picking)
Who associates fall with apple picking? Me, too! Accordingly, you can imagine my confusion when I took my family to Millstone Creek Orchards this week only to find out that apple season here in North Cackalacky peeks in mid-August. Say what!? However, read on, because if you are catching this on Friday you have one last chance to get some apple-picking in at a local favorite: Millstone Creek Orchards.
Millstone Creek is a huge orchard outside of Siler City. From downtown Pittsboro it takes about 20 minutes to get there, straight down 64.
The orchard itself is relatively large with many different types of apples: Fiji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Corland and Rome included. Of course, like I said, most of these are done fruiting (is that a word?) this season. See their website (below) for a full harvest schedule.
Millstone Creek is having one last varietal, though, this season and they open that orchard THIS Saturday morning (9/29/2012) for picking: Pink Ladies. The orchard opens at 9 am these days (except for Sundays which is a 1 pm open time, and off-season the hours are different so check before you go). Starting at 9 am this Saturday Pink Ladies will be yours for the picking. Although GO EARLY. One of the owners informed me that last year the Pink Ladies were picked out in 6 hours. If you have any questions or doubts, call before you go (the number is below). The staff here is so nice and honest - they'll tell you like it is.
Ok, so the immediate know-before-you-go out of the way, Millstone Creek is a great place to visit. There is a large storefront open year round with all kinds of wonderful goodies for sale: fresh-pressed apple cider (YUM! although note that they do run out of this, too, so call ahead if you want to make sure you come home with a gallon), apple butter (again, this is also very popular so call ahead), apple jam, apple salsa, apple pie, apple bread, apple slushies, and all kinds of treats.
When I took C and The Bug to the orchard we knew they were picked out but we were told we could go "apple hunting." They gave us a bag and let us wander around to see if there are any stray apples. We had no luck finding strays that were good to eat, and to be honest there were quite a few bugs chomping down on rotting apples on the ground (I know that pests and tall grass were concerns for some of you at the peach picking). However, we did buy some fresh-picked apples that they sell in the store front (although they were not cheap, they are delicious) and some apple jelly. C was given a free little apple slushie.
During select weekends Millstone Creek also offers hayrides and there are some pumpkins for sale right now, too. There are a slew of picnic tables, some even with umbrellas, great for a picnic. Occasional fieldtrips will visit Millstone, too, so you may have to share.
Millstone will offer private tours so consider calling ahead to arrange a visit for your playgroup, but a 15 person minimum is required. A private tour can have many other activities outside of apple picking, depending on what you pick (see their website for package options).
Millstone Creek does a fabulous job of updating their Facebook page, too (see below) with picking information and status.
Millstone Creek is so much more than just apples, too. They also offer peach, blueberry, blackberry, and grapes.
In short: Millstone Creek Orchards is a fun spot! The staff are friendly, there is a lot on site, and it's not too far from the fun things to do in Pittsboro. Just call before you go and know that apples come earlier in these parts than you might think.
Oh, and if you head out on Saturday morning, let me know how it goes!
Millstone Creek Orchards
506 Parks Crossroads Church Road