No trip to Blue Ridge is complete without a visit to Mercier Orchards. It is a full-working orchard, but it is so much more. In addition to fresh-picked fruits in season, Mercier's (pronounced Mer-seers) has several shops--Blue Ridge Bird Seed Company, Mountain Blooms, Buck's Fancy Meats-an extensive gift department, various fresh pressed ciders, a café that serves delicious sandwiches and salads, a candy shop and a hand-dipped ice cream stand.
And, let us never forget the bakery where the world's best fried pies are made. In addition to the perennial favorite, apple, other fried pies include peach, cherry, blueberry, sweet potato and chocolate, even sugar-free and baked "fried" pies. Other delights include apple fritters, apple cider doughnuts (out-of-this world delicious!), and apple bread. Mercier's also makes regular pies, and come Thanksgiving, the best strategy is to order your pies by phone days-or better yet, weeks-ahead, as the line to purchase pies on the last few days leading up to Thanksgiving are quite long. You'd almost think you were back in the city!!
The orchard had humble beginnings. Bill and Adele Mercier purchased a several acre apple orchard from local pharmacist, Dr. Floyd, in 1943. Bill had a degree in agriculture from the University of Georgia, and he used his extensive agricultural knowledge to increase the output and expand the variety of his fruit trees. The Mercier's were pioneers in cultivating many types of apples that are popular today. Below is a photo of Bill & Adele standing in the door of the original apple house.
Today, at over 100 acres, Mercier's is the largest privately-owned apple orchard in Georgia, and one of the largest in the southeast. Southern Living Magazine lauded Mercier's as their "favorite roadside apple market" in their October, 2002 edition and Today Show's Al Roker visited Mercier's to try out their world-famous fried pies. (He LOVED them, by the way!)
Three generations of Mercier's now participate in the operation of the orchard and retail establishment, and a fourth generation is growing up into the business. Adele can still be found helping out wherever needed-at the cash register, or the bakery, or in the back handing out free samples of delicious Mercier's fruit. Bill passed away in September of 2007. He and Adele had been married 65 years.
Stop into Mercier Orchard and get a special taste of Blue Ridge.