Apple Valley Orchards in Cleveland Jul 17, 2011 10:46:23 GMT -5
Post by billvol on Jul 17, 2011 10:46:23 GMT -5
I've lived in the area for quite a while but had never heard of Apple Valley Orchards in Cleveland. We had heard of Panorama Orchards in Ellijay, Ga., and Mercier Orchards in Blue Ridge, Ga. When we lived in Atlanta for a few years, it was the popular thing to do to drive up to Panorama and Mercier during the fall for apple pies and other products. But I'd never heard Apple Valley right here in our state. I picked up a brochure about it a few weeks ago and said we ought to visit.
We went there today. Hard to find, unlike the two Georgia places that are right on major roads. As we pulled in, we were impressed with looks of the facility and the orchards. Not nearly as big as Panorama or Mercier, but very nice. Mercier and Panorama have huge parking lots. Apple Valley's is not as big. Inside, very good selection of apple products.
We went straight for the fried pies. We talked to the husband-and-wife owners of Apple Valley. Don't know their names and the website doesn't say their names. The pies looked great. I knew they were going to be good just by looking at them. But I joked with the husband owner that I know these will be better than their Georgia counterparts, especially Mercier. Interestingly, he told me that his dad, who started Apple Valley, used to talk daily on the phone with Bill Mercier, founder of Mercier Orchards. He said they were very good friends and used to help each other out.
"But," he said, "our pies are better." I told him I knew it already because they are made with Tennessee apples! BTW the owner had on a UT t-shirt.
When we got to the car, we dived in to the pies. If they were not good, I would say it. And if they were not as good as the Georgia pies, I would say it in an instant. But they blew away Mercier's, which taste like McDonald's fried pies with their machine-stamped crust and sugary glaze, and even Panorama's, which are great, but not as great as Apple Valley. Apple Valley pies have a perfect apple filling and a flaky crust, deep fried to perfection.
Do yourself a favor and visit this place. A little off the beaten path, but worth it. People were leaving there with boxes full of pies. We only bought two. I wish I had one now to go with some vanilla ice cream.