Sown since 1919, Johnson's Orchards' 200 fertile acres buttress the Blue Ridge Mountains foothills and checker the landscape with thousands of apple trees. Patrons hand-select 10 pounds of nearly 200 varieties of apples, ensuring the fruits suit specific standards for weight, hue and doctor-repelling abilities. After stocking up on apples, visitors are welcome to meander the foot trails cutting through the orchard, while tots encouragingly pat the heads of amiable farm animals. Visitors can also tipple cold cider straight from the press and weigh down restless hot air balloons with jellies, relishes, and 25 different fruit wines from the on-site winery. A picnic pavilion affords idyllic views and a space to dive into vitamin-packed feasts.
For nearly a century, five generations of Ikenberry farmers have worked among the crooked arms of apple trees and listened to the rustle of branches heavy with sunset-hued peaches. Family members harvest 10 varieties of apples and seven types of peaches at the peak of their freshness, carefully inspecting and washing fruit before displaying them in the shop. Crimson and bottle green mix in the marbled skin of fuji apples, and granny smiths crunch sharply. Alongside the bushels of in-season produce, still fresh with dew and the cologne of scarecrows, light dances off jars brimming with jams, pickled vegetables steeping in brine, and old-fashioned apple butter crafted inside a copper kettle. As the air grows cooler and the last leaves whisper on the trees, the farm celebrates another year’s harvest with a weekend festival with samples of all of the apple’s spiced and preserved permutations.:m]]
Initially planting vines for neighboring wineries, Virginia Mountain Vineyards' staff slowly began to dabble in the art and science of winemaking. Then, in 2006, they began crafting their own varietals on-site. Today, staffers tend to more than 5,000 vines across nearly 10 acres of picturesque land, plucking ripe grapes to transform into red, white, sweet, and specialty wines. Events are regularly held at the vineyards, including a summer concert series, special tastings, and trying wines straight from their barrels.