Summertime, for many of us, means sunshine, blooming greenery, the great outdoors and for most – delicious fresh fruit! The months of May through November lend the sunshine and perfect weather to make everything from blackberries to apples ripe for the picking. Gatlinburg, Tennessee and the surrounding areas provide the ideal conditions for fresh fruit so instead of stopping by the grocery store, consider picking your own! Picking your own fruit can be a lot of fun for you and your family and getting to see where your fruit comes from can be a great learning experience!
Ready for a one of a kind fruit picking experience? The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is home to thousands of berry bushes – from blueberries to raspberries to blackberries. All throughout the lower elevations of the park are bushes that have ripe-for-the-picking berries and they’re free for personal consumption. A word of caution before you brave the great outdoors – blackberry bushes have thorns, so be careful and ensure the area is clear of snakes and bears who like to call the bushes home (or dinner). Take the family and have a unique experience!
Crave a little more structure and variety? Consider a “pick your own” farm! With countless crops and harvest dates ranging from May to November, you and your family can pick your favorite fruit nearly any time of year. Check out The Fruit and Berry Patch in Knoxville, Tennessee, which grows everything from grapes to peaches! Open from 8:00AM until dark all summer long, you can pick strawberries in May, and then return in October to pick a perfect pumpkin for your jack-o’-lantern! Rutherford’s Strawberries in Maryville, Tennessee is an ideal “pick your own” destination if you just can’t get enough strawberries! Bring your own container and pick away for $1.25 a pound! Owner Steve Rutherford lives on site and ensures the strawberry fields are ideal for the picking.
You’ve heard the saying…an apple a day keeps the doctor away! Well, we have good news for you – Baxter Orchard in Crosby, Tennessee has enough apples to keep all the doctors away! Family owned and operated since it’s opening in 1960, Baxter Orchard has every type of apple you could imagine. Whether for cooking, eating, or preserving, Baxter Orchard has the apple for you. With variety such as Golden Delicious, York, Rome Beauty and Granny Smith, Baxter Orchard has the “apple of your eye!”
Once you’ve done all the picking you can possibly handle, you can head back to your cabin rental and start getting ideas for meals that incorporate this fresh fruit. Pancakes with fresh berries are a popular breakfast favorite. You could even prepare a fresh fruit salad for a picnic lunch in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. However you decide to indulge yourself, you’re sure to be satisfied with your decision to pick your own fruit!