Take the Kids: Pick up fresh N.C. apples at the State Farmers Market

Raleigh, N.C. — Pumpkins might be the big draw at the in Raleigh right now, but there‘s another reason to head over to the market (): North Carolina-grown apples

North Carolina, , ranks seventh in apple production in the United States. Farmers harvest up to 4 million bushels of apples each year – and most come from the North Carolina mountains.

Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Rome Beauty and Galas are the primary apple varieties grown here, but you‘ll turn up many more when you head over to the market.

Why am I writing about this as part of our weekly Take the Kids series? Because I‘ve been taking my kids to the market each fall for years to pick up bags of apples and gallons of cider. It‘s a fun, easy outing that ends with lots of crisp and juicy apples to take home.

And now is the time to go, said Monica Wood, the market‘s marketing specialist.

“It‘s peak time,” she said. “There‘s a really great selection of all of the apples.”

Wood tells me about eight farmers sell apples each fall in the open-air retail market.

“Most are brought in fresh from the North Carolina mountains daily,” she said.

You also can pick up apple cider and dried apples. The market is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily.

On my family‘s weekend trip to the market, we picked up some Honey Crisp, Gala and Empire apples.

Other options include Fujui, Jonagold, Mutsu, Ginger Gold, Granny Smith and Red Rome. At most – if not all of the farms – you can taste slices from each of the apples, so you can be sure to go home with your favorite. I‘ve always let my kids try one of each, so they can make their own selections.

This fall, apples are about $8 for a 1/2 peck and $5 for a 1/4 peck, though you will pay a small premium for the popular Honey Crisp. And, of course, while you‘re there, you can pick up more seasonal produce, including sweet potatoes, cabbage, greens, pumpkins and gourds.

The market is at 1201 Agriculture St., Raleigh.

Go Ask Mom’s Take the Kids series is your No. 1 resource for weekly ideas about kid-focused places to take your family in the Triangle and beyond. New articles are published every Friday.