A Guide to Adams County Apple Country
By Mary Bigham, Dish-Works.com – Growing up in Gettysburg, I didn’t realize how fortunate I was to live in apple country. When I was young, my family attended the National Apple Harvest Festival, but the wonderland of apple offerings didn’t phase me.
In my younger world, apple fritters, apple butter and apple funnel cakes were the norm, and I was more impressed with the “roller coaster road” that lead to the festival. The hilly landscape would bounce me just enough out of my seat in our family van as we drove around the orchard-lined country roads.
As an adult my perspective has shifted; I now feel a sense of serenity driving along these same rolling hills dotted with apple trees, each one rooted in a neat little row yet growing wildly unique. I also feel an overwhelming sense of pride knowing that many of my former high school classmates and their families have been tending these lands for decades, keeping Adams County as a top apple producer statewide and nationally.
As my love for all things culinary developed in my adult years, it was time to rediscover this area that I love so much, so I set out to explore the Gettysburg Apple Country Trail with fresh eyes. Join me on an apple adventure!
Food Traveler Pro Tip: Pack a cooler with ice packs for refrigerated items and (if you have one) a milk crate to properly store apples and other products that you’ll buy as you travel. This prevents any goodies from going bad and from tumbling around in your vehicle as you cruise these country roads.
The Gettysburg Apple Country Trail
The Location: Adams County Winery, 251 Peach Tree Road, Orrtanna
When I first learned that Adams County Winery made a wine called Scrapple, I couldn’t wait to get a taste. Scrapple is made with a blend of 100% crisp, local apples pressed in Adams County with just a touch of spice (Scrapple is an acronym for Sweetly spiced CRanberry APPLE).
During our visit, we were fortunate enough to be on-site for the winery’s annual Harvest Festival. Live music, food vendors and grape stomping were a few exciting activities offered during the day. A quick drive to this winery (tucked among the apple trees) offers up a delightful venue for sipping Scrapple. If spices aren’t your thing, try Memory Lane, a sweet blend of apple and blueberry juice and Concord grapes.
Suggested Detour: Reid’s Orchard & Winery
The Location: The Home Winery, 2135 Buchanan Valley Road, Orrtanna
Reid’s family-owned and -operated orchard and winery features a wide selection of red, white and fruit wines, as well as hard ciders.
Stop 2: Meet Mickey (the donkey) and load up on apple salsa, apple butter and apple muffins.
The Location: Historic Round Barn and Farm Market, 298 Cashtown Road, Biglerville
Historic Round Barn and Farm Market is one of only a handful of surviving circular barns. Aisles of apple products, condiments and fresh produce curve around this unique market. Take a peek at the elegant and rustic event venue lined with white lights at the top of the barn. There’s a steep staircase by the silo (turned kids’ playroom)
inside the market that you can walk up to get a look. It’s an acceptable way to crash a wedding.
Stop 3: Taste seasonal hard cider and eat cheese.
The Location: Jack’s Hard Cider, 410 Cashtown Road, Biglerville
Grab your growler and be ready to fill it after tasting more than seven hard ciders on tap at Jack’s Hard Cidery. On our visit to Jack’s we were lucky enough to get a taste of the seasonal peach cider as well as the Conewago Cider. We also picked up a bottle of Granny Smith cider and enjoyed some PA Preferred cheeses while enjoying the incredible view. For a more in-depth look at local cider, explore Gettysburg’s Cider Trail.
Stop 4: Pick your own apples (and grow your own orchard?)!
The Location: Boyer Nurseries and Orchards, 405 Boyer Nursery Road, Biglerville
Boyer Nurseries is a fifth-generation family-owned business that offers a bountiful market plus a wholesale garden center. With literally dozens of varieties of apples to pick from, you can load up on other fruits and vegetables as well as jams, jellies, honey and Rowe pottery. The sales staff at this location is also ready to equip you with everything you need to landscape OR plant an orchard. Seriously. I considered it.
Suggested Seasonal Detour: National Apple Harvest Festival
The Location: South Mountain Fairgrounds, 615 Narrows Road, Biglerville
If you’re lucky enough to be touring the Gettysburg Apple Country Trail on the first two full weekends of October (rain or shine) you must attend! Dive into a festival recap on the blog to find Stacey Fox’s must-grab apple foods at the Apple Harvest Festival (hint: apple pizza and apple sausage are on her list). Expect apple EVERYTHING, 300+ vendors, antique cider presses, chainsaw carving, hayrides, a petting zoo, pony rides, pie baking and eating contests and (because why not?) tractor square dancing. $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, free for children under 12.
Stop 5: Grab some organic apples, apple pie filling, applesauce and organic cheese.
Oyler’s Organic Farm and Market is a lovely certified organic farm located just outside of Gettysburg. The market boasts an impressive selection of certified organic goods including organic vegetables and herbs (dependent on the growing season). Snack on dairy products you can feel great about from local organic farms and creameries like Everblossom Farm, Keswick Creamery, Family Cow and Trickling Springs Creamery.
Stop 6: Taste apples and buy apple sausage, caramel apples and apple cider donuts.
The Location: Hollabaugh Bros. Inc. Fruit Farm and Market, 545 Carlisle Road, Biglerville
Hollabaugh Bros. Inc. Fruit Farm and Market is a three-generation family farm that is so much fun to visit. You’ll have to stop yourself from filling your basket full of baked apple goods and fresh apple cider. There are events or festivals almost every weekend as well as classes and tours, so be sure to check their website for dates and times. Tip: Sign up for their apple dumpling class ($30 includes recipe booklet, all ingredients and supplies) so you know how to bake all the apples you’re sure to buy here.
Suggested detour: Hungry?
Tania’s Mexican Restaurant in Aspers (2180 Carlisle Road) has some of the best Mexican cuisine that I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. Hidden in a no-frills building in the middle of apple country, just north of Hollabaugh Bros., is fresh, authentic fare like shrimp tostadas, fish tacos and enchiladas. I didn’t see a single apple on my visit here, but after a day on the Gettysburg Apple Country Trail, you may need a break. You can thank me later.
Additional Resources to Plan Your Apple Adventure:
With four local cideries (and growing) Gettysburg is quickly becoming known as Cider Town, PA, so be sure to fill up on locally produced cider found on the Gettysburg Cider Trail.
Check the hours, varying seasonally, at the Adams County Farmers’ Market and Gettysburg Farmers’ Market. If you’re short on time and can’t make it out to the orchards, you can be sure to pick up locally grown foods and produce (often including apples) at either of these Gettysburg-area markets.
About the Author: Currently residing in Chester County but born and raised in Gettysburg, Mary Bigham, a lover of food and hard cider, is hometown proud. When she’s not talking about Adams County, you can find her scouring her vintage cookbook collection, walking her four-legged friends or passionately backing her company, Dish LLC, which publishes and produces culinary content.