How to have a perfect summer: Peach picking at Carter Mountain

Ripe peach at Carter Mountain Orchard in Virginia

If fall is for apples and spring is for berries, then summer is for peaches. In cobblers and pies – or just eating them straight – they’re pretty much the perfect summer fruit.

And what’s better than a regular peach? One you’ve picked yourself.

If you’re in Virginia, chances are you’ve heard of Carter Mountain Orchard. Out in the Charlottesville area, they’re famous for different fruits and activities in all seasons. But in the summer, they’re best known for their peach orchards.

 

The peach picking experience

Wind your way up Carter Mountain, past woods and vineyards, and park in their gravel lot.

Once you get up to the main barn, there’s a shop full of all kinds of jams, jellies, seasonings, and other tchotchkes, as well as bins of pre-picked apples and peaches. Past that, you’ll find the Bold Rock cider tasting room and a walk-up restaurant with treats like hotdogs, hamburgers, and other finger food appropriate for the picnic tables with a view out back.

Boyfriend Perspective: Before you leave you MUST have a fresh apple cider cake doughnut. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone you walk past about them. You’ll regret leaving without having eaten a hot one.

If you’re not hungry yet, head over the information stand and grab a plastic bag and instructions on how to get to the peach grove. Then – you guessed it – it’s time to hoof it.

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It’s worth mentioning that Carter Mountain is almost always busy, as it’s a perfect thing to do with families. But even with that, it’s still a blast, even for a couple of grownups 🙂

Pick yourself some blushing peaches – not the greenish-yellow ones, you’ll get judged! – and head back down to the barn for weighing and to be cashed out.

And now… now’s the time to head home and get your bake on!

 

Obviously… we had fun 🙂

 

 

Things to know

  • Get there early. This place fills up fast, particularly as the summer is coming to a close, as people want to get up there with their kids before school starts back up.
  • Don’t pick it if you don’t want it. Since the orchard makes money from selling their fruit, anything you pick but don’t buy is wasting money – and their ability to maintain and improve the orchard.
  • Make sure you try a cake donut!! Aside from the fruit, they’re one of the best things about this place.

 

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peach picking at carter mountain orchard


Also published on Medium.

18 Replies to “How to have a perfect summer: Peach picking at Carter Mountain”

  1. Wow look at those peaches, so cool! I’ve never gone peach picking, don’t know if I ever will but it sure sounds like a fun thing to do! And what’s a cake donut? Sounds yummy 😀

    1. So, there are two types of donuts that I know of. Yeast donuts, which are fluffy and light (at least in the US, that’s the typical donut you’d find at Krispy Kreme or someplace like that). But cake donuts are slightly heavier and denser in texture. They’re both very, very tasty, but it depends on your personal preference 🙂

  2. There is no way I’d miss the apple cider doughnut cake for anything if I ever get to visit. And peach picking sounds like a fun activity. I wish to try one out.

    1. The best part is they usually serve them hot *sigh* Now I want another donut. Damn.

  3. Sounds like a great place to go with kids. Think my niece would love this

    1. It’s definitely a great family activity – many of our friends with kids consider peach picking, apple picking, and pumpkin picking to be their big yearly traditions 🙂

  4. Those peaches look good! Reading this made me hungry.

    1. Hah, it’s hard not to just eat them off the tree for that exact reason 😉

  5. I haven’t tried fruit picking before (the strawberry farm we went to before had no fruits as it was off season), so reading (and watching it too 😉 ) about your experience peach picking is quite entertaining! It looks like a fun thing to do with or without kids 😉

    1. It makes you feel a little like a kid, whether you have them or not 🙂 I’m so glad our escapades in the orchard were a fun read! 😉

  6. It sounds like a perfect way to spend a summer’s day. I do love peaches and being able to pick your own from the tree means you get the ones you want and they are very fresh. But I am very curious about one thing – what are tchotchkes?

    1. It’s definitely nice to pick your own instead of rummaging through a basket at a grocery store 🙂 Oh! And tchotchkes are basically little things you’d put on a shelf or decorate with – little souvenirs, magnets, figurines, stuff like that.

  7. Yay! Looks super fun to pick peaches! I usually don’t eat peaches as my tastebud says they’re sour and sweet and not a perfect combination for me. Maybe it’s just me! But I would love to experience this, I’ve tried grapes and strawberry pickings in the Philippines! Being early here is a must and a good decision, so you won’t get to compete picking with the crowd. Such a good idea everyone must consider. Love summer!

    1. Peaches can definitely taste super sour or tart if they’re not ripe enough – but I hear you about your tastebuds just not wanting to cooperate, regardless 😉 The cool thing is that the activity, itself, was definitely a lot of fun – it makes you feel a little like a kid again, wandering through the trees on the hunt for ripe fruit. Now I want to try grape picking and strawberry picking, as both sound like fun, too!

  8. The Peach Picking activity sounds really exciting. I can imagine how it would feel setting of on a nice day, reveling in the beautiful landscapes as you pick peaches. Something that we would definitely love to do. Recently we had the opportunity to pick peaches in Kodaikanal, beautiful and lush hills in the south of India and really enjoyed it.

  9. How fun! I have done strawberry and orange picking before, but never peach picking! I will need to check it out next time in Virginia. Oh, and try the cake donut <3

    1. The donuts are one of the best parts, for sure 🙂 Hope you’ll let us know if you enjoy it when you go!

  10. travellingslacker says: Reply

    Amazing experience… I love to visit such farms, especially on two occasions, 1. when the flowers bloom… and 2. when the fruits are ripe after a few months…

    I have been to fields of apples, plums, and apricots in this manner… I would love to have a peach picking experience like this!

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