Bountiful Harvest: Celebrating Henderson County's Apple Legacy & Honoring its Growers - TribPapers

Bountiful Harvest: Celebrating Henderson County’s Apple Legacy & Honoring its Growers

Students from Pat's School of Dance take part in the Apple Festival Parade. Photo courtesy of D. Morgan

Hendersonville – Apples are one of the most important agricultural crops grown in Henderson County, with 91 active growers producing an estimated million bushels annually. Eighty percent (80%) of this state’s apple supply are from Henderson County with an average income of $30 million. North Carolina is considered the 7th largest producer of apples in the United States. Because of a late spring frost, the apple harvest in this area suffered this year and is probably down approximately 40%; the peach and pear crop suffered even further damage. Some farms completely lost their peach and pear crop.

Many NC varieties of apples are available well into late fall and can be found at the country stores, near the orchards where they have been grown. Arkansas Black, Gold Rush, Pink Lady, and Sun Crisp are available in Early November. Lots of fun activities, such as a corn maze, an apple cannon and a cow train are there to entertain the children.

Mid-August is considered the start of the apple season in Western North Carolina. Thus the 77th King Apple Festival took place this Labor Day. Many marching bands and floats paraded down Main Street in Hendersonville, including the 2023 Apple Ambassador, Jackie Hernandez and the runner up Destiny Semiotics,as well as the King Grand Apple Parade Marshall, county and city officials, firemen, policemen, and other groups and organizations.

United Community Bank announced its 2023 Apple Grower of the Year at the opening ceremony at the Historic Henderson County Courthouse. This year’s winner was Wayne Barnwell with Odell Barnwell & Sons and Barnwell’s Apple House, located at 2900 Chimney Rock Road in Hendersonville. He thanked his family and all the farmers and the families of the farmers.

Over Labor Day many contests were held, such as a Window Display Competition. Kathy Kirchoefer took home two first-place finishes in the Apple Festival Bake Contest, earning both the overall first-place award and the first-place award in the dessert category. Kathy Ham won for breads, Savannah Langford for pies and Paisley Ann Gordon for the kids category.