Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Charleston Currents Feature - September 2013

It's harvest time for kids
By LEIGH SABINE, contributing editor
Special to Charleston Currents
SEPT. 16, 2013 -- The best part of seasonal crop picking with children is the serious looks of concentration on all the little faces as each child tries to choose that perfect apple or pumpkin.
It can take time to meander through an apple orchard or pumpkin patch; kids study weight, color, size and shape all with the touch of tiny palms smoothing over the surface of each and every possible pick. Each year I remember that this fleeting milestone marks the passing of another harvest season in a childhood that only has so many of these sweet seasons and we take our time to savor that yearly trip to tote home the prize.
Don't forget to take your camera when you head off to gather apples or pick pumpkins as you will look back over the years and realize the criteria of what constitutes "perfect" will change in the eyes of your child as they grow and mature. When kids are tiny, they want a pumpkin that's bigger than they are and they struggle to fit their little arms around it. When they are in middle school perfection can be more about the coolest shape or color. The pictures begin to tell the story and lend clues as to the personalities that are emerging.
Here are a few suggestions for great orchards and patches in South Carolina to help you plan ahead and enjoy the most this season has to offer:
September/October picking in the Apple Orchards:
  • Windy Hill Orchard: We featured this fantastic orchard last year on Pluff Mud Kids blog and loved everything about it from the cider garden to the orchard to the pigs and hens that roam the grounds. We also recommend packing a picnic to enjoy at a covered picnic table or taking part in this year's Apple Harvest Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on October 19. Check the website listed here for weekend events and times for picking. U-pick apple picking started September 16. Location: 1860 Black Highway, York, SC. Distance from Charleston: 200 miles. More.
  • Bryson's Apple Orchard: This beautiful orchard rests in the Blue Ridge Mountains fifteen miles from Oconee State Park in Mountain Rest, S.C. Apples are available to pick here from late August to mi- October this season. Picnic tables are available and there is local honey for sale. Location: 1011 Chattooga Ridge Rd. Mountain Rest, S.C. Distance from Charleston: 263.9 miles. More. 
  • Niven's Apple Farm: This location has a fantastic Apple Festival on September 28 this year and its pumpkin patch opens on September 21. There are farm animals, two corn mazes and a playground. They can even host a party or group tour. Location: 130 Orchard Dr., Moore, SC 29369. Distance from Charleston: 195 miles. More.
October picking in the Pumpkin Patches:
  • McLeod Farms: The farm will host a Fall Festival and Pumpkin Tour on October 26.. This farm has it all for Fall! Location: 25455 Highway 1, McBee, S.C. Distance from Charleston: 150 miles. More. 
  • John Wesley United Methodist Church: Located in West Ashley, this pumpkin patch is noted for a worthy cause benefitting the church's mission ministries and the pumpkin growers. Every year, we are impressed with the variety of pumpkins for sale here. Location: 626 Savannah Hwy, Charleston.
  • Legare Farms: "A Lowcountry Legacy" that has a great pumpkin patch and maze on a portion of this 300-acre farm on Johns Island. We have been visiting this farm for the past six years and it is always a special treat. Location: 2620 Hanscombe Point Road, Johns, Island. Distance from Charleston: 15 miles. More.
  • Boone Hall Farms: Coming in October ... I've visited this local favorite since before my babies could walk and it is always a hit at every age. There are tons of activities, a gentle non-frightening tractor ride for little ones, pumpkins, a maze, produce and more. Location: 2521 U.S. Highway 17, Mount Pleasant. More.
  • Hibben United Methodist Church: You will note this patch along Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant and it is always worth the stop. This church fundraiser is important to our community and makes your decorative Halloween pumpkins really worthwhile. It is open October 4-31. Location: 690 Coleman Blvd., Mount Pleasant.
Call or visit the websites listed above to check hours and updates as well as current 2013 fees and admissions. Check in with Pluff Mud Kids too for highlights posted last season and fresh updates in the coming months.
Writer Leigh Sabine of Mount Pleasant offers a monthly look at fun activities for Lowcountry kids. It's based on her great blog, PluffMudKids. Check it out. (Photos by Leigh Sabine.)

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