Gross’ Orchard in Bedford County hosted its annual Apple Harvest Festival on Saturday, bringing thousands to the orchard to enjoy music, food from local vendors and – of course – plenty of apples.
“Me and my husband have never been apple picking before,” said Katelyn Bosch, who attended the festival with her husband and six-month-old son Cameron.
Bosch said the festival encouraged her to come from Lynchburg to the orchard.
“My husband grew up on a Christmas tree farm, and so they’re all about supporting local businesses, and so I think that’s good to do here,” she said.
According to the owners of Gross’ Orchard, the festival normally marks the end of the harvest season. But this year, they said there are more apples on the trees than usual because the weather has resulted in a later harvest season.
“We had drier weather,” said Ronnie Gross, a co-owner of Gross’ Orchard. “Then in late August, early September we started having a lot of rain. So our season has been extended.”
Apples are actually at their peak in our area right now, Gross said.
Between 4,000 and 5,000 people turn out for the Apple Harvest Festival each year, some whom are from outside the area, Gross said.
“A lot of people traveling that have never been in Apple Valley – it’s what’s such a treat,” he said.
“It’s really pretty, tons of trees, different varieties I’ve never seen before,” Bosch said.
Gross said he expects to see apples on the trees this year until early to mid-November.
Gross’ Orchard is open all year round, and you can pick your own apples or select them inside the shop, Gross said. The orchard is open Monday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., he added.