In Cosby, Tennessee there is a little slice of heaven called Carvers Orchard. Carver’s is a full service orchard but it is also a farmer’s market, a restaurant and boasts the best fried apple pies in east Tennessee. Surrounded by apple trees, well marked and easy to locate Carver’s is a roadside wonder. The easy way to find them is by following Hwy 321 out of Gatlinburg. The intersection of the 321 and the parkway is at traffic light 3 and it will take you out of town and past the Great Smoky Mountain Arts and Crafts Community. The route from traffic light 3 in Gatlinburg to the orchard is a little over 22 miles and takes you through some beautiful locations. On the way to the orchard you will pass the Greenbrier area of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, the turn off to the Cosby Campground area of the Smokies and eventually you will arrive at Cosby itself. The Cosby area is not as visited an area as Gatlinburg or Pigeon Forge but what it lacks in numbers it makes up for in beauty.
At Carver’s Orchard Cosby beauty certainly shines through. The orchard processes apples that grow on the trees in the orchard and they have more than 40,000 trees to pick from. Those 40,000 trees include 126 varieties of apple, from standard fare to heirlooms. During harvest you can watch as thousands of apples are processed. The bright, shiny, red orbs roll down the conveyor belts to be sorted by hand into bushels. The bushels then go to the farmer’s market or to the trucks to be shipped out. The apples that make it to the floor of the farmer’s market are then picked over by cooks and apple coinsurers alike. Like any good farmer’s market they will even let you sample the apple before you buy. Each type is also marked as to what it is best used for, whether that be in a pie or just eaten as is.
Some of the apples end up being used in the orchard’s restaurant. Home-style food with an Appalachian twist abounds at Carver’s. At the beginning of each meal you get a basket of apple fritters and a glass of cider. Really at this point you could almost stop. The fritters are perfect and cider is so fresh that you start looking for pulp. But if you chose to stop you wouldn’t be able to experience the rest of the food they have to offer. From pot roast to catfish they carry all your family’s favorites. Their sandwiches are tremendous and if you get there early you can even have breakfast. Of course the only way to end a meal at Carver’s is with a fried apple pie.
Their fried apple pies are amazing. People in the area know where to get good food and if you are looking for a fried apple pie there is no other place to go. They are sold in the pastry shop and in the restaurant. You can get them with ice cream or by themselves. Either way you experience a Carver’s Orchard fried apple pie will leave you full and dream of a lazy summer watching the bees flit from apple tree to apple tree. Fried apple pies are a bit of southern nostalgia and if your kids haven’t gotten to taste one, you need to beat a hasty path to Carver’s Orchard in Cosby, Tennessee.