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From apple picking to apple cannons: Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard has it all

HENDERSONVILLE, N.C. – As the fall chill settles in and the leaves begin to turn, many of us eagerly anticipate the autumn festivities that come with it. In the heart of Hendersonville, North Carolina, lies Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard, a haven for families seeking a quintessential fall experience. With over 50 years of history in agritourism, this orchard has transformed into a wonderland of activities for all ages.

One of the main attractions at Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard is their “pick-your-own” tradition. For decades, families have delighted in the simple pleasure of plucking ripe apples straight from the trees. But the orchard offers much more than apple picking. In recent years, they’ve expanded their offerings to include sunflowers, pumpkins, and even grapes. This diversity ensures there’s always something fresh and exciting to harvest.

For those seeking adventure, the orchard boasts a corn maze that promises to challenge even the most seasoned maze-goers. Kids can bounce their hearts out on the jump pad, while the more adventurous can try their hand at apple cannons, where you can aim and shoot apples at targets. With approximately 100 acres of picturesque landscape to explore, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse yourself in the beauty of the season.

Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard has deep roots in the community, dating back to the early 1960s when the Stepp family acquired the orchard. Over the years, it has become a beloved local institution. The family’s dedication to maintaining a friendly atmosphere and providing high-quality products has made them a cherished destination for generations. The warm, welcoming environment is what sets this orchard apart.

“I think that my most favorite thing about running the business now at my age, and I’m 73, I really enjoy the people,” Mike Stepp, owner, explained. “They talk about how friendly we are here, how they enjoy our products, and it’s just a people thing. I think for me now more than anything, I really enjoy people seeing our place and appreciating it, taking care of it while they’re here, and they give us those compliments, and that’s really a great thing. God has really blessed us here with a lot of good customers.”

With over 20 different apple varieties to choose from, including some of the newest and most sought-after varieties, Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard ensures that visitors have a diverse selection of apples to pick. They’ve also invested in dwarfing trees, making it easier for guests to access the fruit. This commitment to providing a top-notch experience is a testament to the Stepp family’s passion for their orchard and its visitors.

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When you’re ready to take a break from all the outdoor fun, Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard offers a cozy shop filled with tempting treats. Apple cider, warm donuts, pastries, jams, jellies, salsas, local honey, and more await those with a craving for something delicious. It’s the perfect place to indulge your taste buds after a day of picking and playing.

Conveniently located in Henderson County, Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard draws visitors from Greenville, Charlotte, Asheville, and beyond. The region’s cool nights in September contribute to the vibrant colors of the apples, making it an ideal spot for apple production. The apple heritage of Henderson County is woven into the fabric of the community, and Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard proudly continues that tradition.

Visit Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard at 170 Stepp Orchard Drive in Hendersonville. To learn more about the orchard or plan your trip, visit steppapples.com. You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram.

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