By Joanna Grey Talbot
Apples in South Carolina? But I thought the fruit they are known for is peaches? Both are true! Growing up in North Carolina I only knew of picking apples in the Blue Ridge Mountains which is why I am glad I came across an orchard closer to home. Most of the state doesn’t have the optimal climate to grow apples but upstate South Carolina has a handful of orchards.
My husband and I traveled to the town of York, which was first settled by the Catawba Indians and then English/Scot/German immigrants in the 1750s. It became the county seat in 1785 and then incorporated as Yorkville in 1841. The residents decided to shorten its name to York in 1915.
Northwest of its downtown is Windy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill. Founded in the early 1980s it is a family owned and operated boutique apple orchard and hard cider producer. From September to October you can wander the orchard and pick-your-own apples. My husband and I came the day after picking had ended but we still “picked” our apples by choosing which bagful we wanted. As you walk through the orchard to the farm stand be sure to keep an eye out for the wandering chickens and potbellied pigs!
We still had a great time, though, because despite the big crowd which had the same idea as us, it was a gorgeous day and the farm stand and hard cider bar were open. Under the large shelter they had live music and plenty of room at the picnic tables for people to sit. They offer six different types of hard ciders at the bar. You can order a glass or a sample flight and try them all. In the stand you can buy apples, fresh made donuts, apple cider, and hard cider.
My husband and I wandered the store and left with a bag of apples and a half gallon of apple cider. The smell of those donuts was so tempting! We will definitely have to go back sometime and try the hard cider. The farm stand is open Thursday-Sunday and the cider bar is open Friday-Sunday. Be sure to check their website for upcoming events, such as their 23rd annual Apple Harvest Festival on October 15th!
http://www.windyhillorchard.com, 1860 Black Highway, York, SC 29745