The Chiles Family
Named one of Woman’s Day’s 10 best apple-picking spots, Carter Mountain Orchard sits atop rich, historic land just outside Charlottesville, Va. Adjacent to Monticello, it’s a must see fall destination. Offering “pick-your-own” apples since the 1970s, the Chiles recall Mother Nature’s role in helping them pioneer the concept.
Freezing weather in 1974 meant that there was not enough fruit to hire a picking crew or run the packing house. So the Chiles opened up the orchard to allow the public to pick the small crop. Their idea, novel at the time, was a success and when the phones started ringing the next year, the family knew they were on to something.
Carter Mountain now offers a dozen apple varieties during the season, including Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Winesap and Fuji, as well as peaches, nectarines, strawberries, sweet cherries and pumpkins. They also grow wine grapes and make their own wine, available in their wine shop and tasting room. Visitors can also purchase pre-packed fruit in the Apple Barn or visit the country store and bakery.
For fourth-generation grower Cynthia Chiles, being part of the family business and connecting consumers with their food source fuel her passion for apples. “It’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” she says.
Open mid April through November, visit Carter Mountain’s website to learn more about this historic, family-run orchard. www.CarterMountainOrchard.com