One of the many wonders of North Georgia is all of the glorious roadside attractions you can find. Every few miles you can find a true gem. Wanderers can spend all day exploring the North Georgia area, but everyone should make time to stop at R&A Orchards. This family-owned farm gets my vote as a can’t miss destination. We’ve been visiting for ten years now and it’s always worth the drive from Atlanta.
The farm is located 4.5 miles east of Ellijay, on Highway 52. Our family used to visit annually, for fresh apples in the fall. Only a few seasons in, we realized we were missing out because they’re open all year round. After that, we expanded our horizons (and re-stocked our pantry) by visiting R&A Orchards during their other produce seasons too.
While I’d love to R&A Orchards a secret, they’re too good not to share. See why it’s a family-favorite destination for us and why the kids enjoy going too. If you’re ready for a big family adventure, make a day of it and visit Burt’s Pumpkin Farm too.
R&A Orchards: Can’t Miss North Georgia Roadside Attraction
With sixty acres of apple orchards, the orchard’s bread and butter is selling apples. The farm was established in the late 1940’s, but the first apple tree wasn’t planted until the 1980’s. Today, it’s a family tradition. On any occasion, you can find multiple generations of the Futch family working on the orchard or in the roadside market.
Thousands may visit annually, but it’s the locals who really know how amazing the farm is. Their loyalty lies in daily visits for fresh coffee, apple cider donuts and the daily paper. They truly understand how lucky they are to live so close to R&A Orchards.
Year Round Fresh Produce At R&A Orchards
Their apple season starts in early June and U-Pick orchards are available during the month of September, but the apple season extends into the month of November. In total, they sell 18 different varieties of apples throughout the season.
Apples are the star of the farm, but strawberries are a close second. Guests can enjoy picking fresh strawberries in the early spring. Peaches are available in the beginning of summer, which means the homemade peach ice cream is available in the market as well.
Throughout the year, guests can also find a variety of local produce in the market:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Collard Greens
- Yellow Squash
- Spaghetti Squash
- Green Beans
- Butternut Squash
What Makes R&A Orchards A Family-Friendly Destination
This is what really sold me on visiting the orchard. We fell in love with the yearly tradition of visiting North Georgia for fall festivities long before we had kids. When they came along, we wanted to continue the tradition with them. Driving from Atlanta, with two kids, became a big day trip.
R&A Orchard is more than a spot to pick apples. Their cafe, which is located inside the market, offered us refuge from sitting the car. We could pick apples, shop and feed the kids some lunch in a casual setting. Plus, they’ve got clean restrooms with a changing table. That’s priceless when you’re traveling with babies and toddlers. That makes R&A a true family-friendly spot that parents can appreciate.
Fried Pies, Fresh Fudge & Canned Goods
A trip to R&A isn’t complete without grabbing a fried pie to try. Go beyond apple and try one of their other pie flavors: blackberry, strawberry, coconut, chocolate pecan, blueberry, lemon, sweet potato and cream cheese. You can’t go wrong with a fried pie – and it makes for an awesome Instagram photo too.
The roadside market has so many great canned goods to stock your pantry with too. Sample fresh jellies, apple butters, honey, salad dressings, soups and vegetables. We love grabbing a few jars of apple butters to put on homemade biscuits.
Lastly, the homemade fudge is definitely worth mentioning. The fresh fudge is creamy and rich – the decadent treat you need to try. Chocolate, peanut butter and maple are staple flavors that you can always find in their roadside market.
U-Pick Apples, Wagon Rides and Farm Tours
Hands down, these activities are favorites for the kids. Every weekend in September, the farm offers wagon rides, U-Pick apples and farm tours. The farm tours are a great way to see the inner-workings of the farm and an educational experience for the kids.
Wear comfortable shoes if you’re planning to pick your own apples. They offer U-Pick rain or shine and you’ll want to avoid wearing flip flops. My tip is to take a little walk from the front of the orchard or ask for help – the farmers know where to find the best bounty! It’s also an awesome destination for family photos, so get your cameras ready to go.
The wagon rides offer a fun view of the orchards and a scenic look at the farm property. Kids love the wagon rides and the views are amazing. If you get a chance to visit in September, the wagon rides are fun for the whole family.
No matter what brings your family to R&A Orchards, it’s sure to be a destination that you’ll keep coming back to year after year. Make a day of it and bring home fresh produce that will last the season, but even better, bring home memories to last a lifetime.
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