From Fruit to Nuts, When to Pick Your Favorites in Georgia

Strawberry picking in North Georgia.

Strawberry picking in North Georgia.

Each season Georgia has a new crop ready to be harvested. When is the season for your favorite fruit?

Strawberries – Each April through July, strawberries ripen in fields across Georgia. Prime season is in May and June. Each spring, North Georgia’s Jaemor Farms celebrates the harvest with a family-friendly festival.

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Peaches – From early May to August, you’ll find ripe peaches on trees throughout the state. During the late summer, the City of Kennesaw hosts the annual Pigs & Peaches Festival celebrating the beloved fruit and some of the state’s best barbecue. Add to your peach-loving fun with a visit to Georgia’s Peach Blossom Trail.

Byne Blueberry Farms in Waynesboro grows organic berries.

Byne Blueberry Farms in Waynesboro grows organic berries.

Blueberries – From mid-April through the end of July, Georgia’s blueberry harvest is at its peak. If you prefer organic blueberries, visit Byne Blueberry Farms in Waynesboro, the oldest organic blueberry farm in the state and the third oldest in the nation.

Apples – You’ll find apples ripe in orchards from late July to October. Throughout that time, the state hosts numerous apple-themed festivals, including the Georgia Apple Festival in Ellijay, which spans two weekends.

PecansPecans are in their prime in October through December in Georgia. According to the Georgia Pecan Commission, the state’s trees produce over 100 million pounds of the nuts each year. Stop into Ellis Brothers Pecans in Vienna (home to the Big Pig Jig annual barbecue cooking contest in November) and fill up on roasted, glazed, spiced, chocolate-covered, candied and any other variation of the nut you can imagine.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Georgia’s Top Trout Destinations

Fish for trout in the Toccoa River at Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville, Georgia.

Fish for trout in the Toccoa River at Horseshoe Bend Park in McCaysville, Georgia.

It’s no secret that trout is becoming big business in Georgia. From residents and visitors wanting to fish the state’s streams and rivers to the featured protein on restaurant menus, the prized fish is impacting local economies in a big way. Here are the top places to find trout in Georgia.

Toccoa River – The Toccoa River, in Fannin County, has just the right conditions to warrant the growth of big fish. According to the Blue Ridge Chamber of Commerce, the river is stocked above Blue Ridge Dam “about every other week” during prime fishing times. Book a lesson with any of the fishing guides in Blue Ridge to learn some tricks for reeling in the big ones. (Before casting a line, review the Georgia Department of Natural Resources trout fishing regulations.)

Your Delta flight – Acclaimed chef Linton Hopkins, of Restaurant Eugene, cheeseburger hot spot Holeman and Finch, H&F Bread Co. and the forthcoming Linton’s at Atlanta Botanical Garden, has worked with the Atlanta-based airline to create menus with local flare for passengers flying from Atlanta to Europe. Along with regional cheeses, Carolina Gold rice and grits, local charcuterie and pork, travelers will find mountain trout being offered up.

Chattahoochee National Forest – Spanning a large part of the state’s northern region, the Chattahoochee National Forest is home to the Chattooga River, which features prime whitewater rafting opportunities and Southern Appalachian Brook Trout, a species that is not stocked by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Blue Ridge Trout Fest and Outdoor Adventures – Each year, the town of Blue Ridge plays host to a weekend of festivities celebrating its claim as the Trout Capital of Georgia. This year’s festival runs April 29-30, 2016.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About SweetWater Brewing Company

Tour the SweetWater brewery Wednesdays through Sundays.

Tour the SweetWater brewery in Atlanta Wednesdays through Sundays. Photo courtesy SweetWater, Facebook.

You can visit the company’s namesake. Legend has it SweetWater Brewing Company co-owner Freddy Bensch came up with the company’s name after paddling down Sweetwater Creek in his kayak. You can kayak down the same creek and visit Sweetwater Creek State Park just outside of Atlanta.

Photo courtesy Scott M, SweetWater, Facebook

Photo courtesy Scott M, SweetWater, Facebook

When you’re flying out of town, you can take the taste of Atlanta with you. Delta offers craft beer on many of their flights, which means you can sip a SweetWater IPA or 420 Extra Pale Ale as you head to or from Atlanta via the world’s busiest airport.

Photo courtesy SweetWater, Facebook.

Photo courtesy SweetWater, Facebook.

More than just the hops are green. SweetWater Brewing is committed to sustainable business practices. They tout their clean fuel fleet of delivery trucks, use of electronic hand dryers instead of paper towels, skylights and packaging made from post-recycled content. They also ship their used hops and grains to farms to use as feed instead of having it take up space in landfills.

SweetWater 420 Fest in Centennial Olympic Park

SweetWater 420 Fest in Centennial Olympic Park. Photo courtesy SweetWater, Facebook.

They know how to throw a party. The annual SweetWater 420 Fest is held in Centennial Olympic Park and features some of the biggest names in music entertaining the crowd alongside an artists market, food village and comedy shows. The festival also showcases information about sustainability and go-green practices.

Cloudland Canyon. Photo courtesy SweetWater, Facebook.

Cloudland Canyon. Photo courtesy SweetWater, Facebook.

SweetWater is taking over the world. Well, not quite the whole world, but they are in the midst of a multi-phase expansion that includes selling in the Northeastern U.S. and opening a second brewery in the Western U.S.

Want a tour? SweetWater Brewing Company is open for tours Wednesday through Sunday each week. Taking an Uber or carpooling are your best bets for transportation. Parking in the area is tight, but the experience is worth it!

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

5 Reasons to Get Off I-95 at the Georgia Coast

Nanny Goat Beach on Sapelo Island

Nanny Goat Beach on Sapelo Island

Take a tour of Sapelo Island – Reservations are required to visit this island on the Georgia coast that is only able to be reached by ferry. During the day, Sapelo Island visitors are encouraged to explore the cultural history, coastal wildlife and complex beach and dunes system on the 11-mile island. Key on-island destinations include the African-American community of Hog Hammock, Reynolds Mansion, Nanny Goat Beach, University of Georgia Marine Institute and a restored 1820 lighthouse. Guests are welcome overnight and can choose to camp or stay at the historic Reynolds Mansion.

Darien's Waterfront Park

Darien’s Waterfront Park

Walk along the Darien Waterfront Park – Whether you stop off on the coast during the annual Blessing of the Fleet or make the park your destination to see the shrimp boats and let the kids get out some energy during your trip, there is a lot to see and photograph. Downtown Darien also features a growing restaurant and boutique scene.

Kayak Ebenezer Creek. Photo courtesy Savannah Canoe and Kayak, Facebook.

Kayak Ebenezer Creek. Photo courtesy Savannah Canoe and Kayak, Facebook.

Kayak the black water of Ebenezer Creek – Paddle your own canoe along the coast or kayak up or down Ebenezer Creek, just off I-95 near Savannah. Visitors may also arrange a tour through one of the many local guides.

Stay in an ocean villa at The Cloister on Sea Island.

Stay in an ocean villa at The Cloister on Sea Island.

Explore the Golden Isles – Stay overnight at The Cloister at Sea Island where you’ll be able to indulge in luxurious accommodations or at the historic King and Prince Golf & Beach Resort on St. Simons Island, both of which are within steps of the ocean. You can also choose to rest your head at the Jekyll Island Club Hotel on Jekyll Island. During the day, each island and Brunswick give visitors reasons to shop, eat and relax at various retail, restaurant and spa locations.

Cumberland Island Trees

Photo courtesy of Cumberland Island National Seashore.

See the Cumberland Island National Seashore. On Georgia’s southernmost barrier island, visitors will find maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes among the 9,800 acres of congressionally designated wilderness. Bring your camping gear and make your ferry reservation ahead of time to ensure you have the fullest experience.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.

Retreat and Reconnect at 4 Annual Georgia Yoga Festivals

Photo credit: Wigwam Fest/Facebook

Photo credit: Wigwam Fest/Facebook

Ready to stretch your festival experience to the max? Georgia is home to a number of yoga festivals in the spring and autumn that should be on every yoga enthusiast’s calendar. Start expanding your practice with these four festivals this year.

Wigwam Fest – Held at Chattahoochee Nature Center, this festival features more than 50 yoga, fitness, dance, stand-up paddleboarding, sound therapy, food, outdoor adventures, clean living, and healing arts experiences throughout the landscape of the center. Tickets are required for attendance and can be purchased as single-day or two-day passes. The 2016 festival is set for April 22-24.

Sweet Tea Yoga Festival – This autumn festival takes over Avalon, in Alpharetta, for a second year on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016. Like last year’s festival, this year’s is set to feature outdoor classes, an artists market and activities for children. Tickets for the festival go on sale Aug. 1, 2016.

Dirty South Yoga Fest – Billed as “Real. Raw. Southern. Sweat.” Dirty South Yoga Fest is a homegrown Georgia experience featuring local instructors, the community, the local farmers market, locally made brew, festivities and a live band. The 2016 festival is set for this autumn at an ITP location in Atlanta.

Southeast Yoga Conference – Taking place Sept. 30 – Oct. 2, 2016, this event features world-renowned talent as part of its lineup, which also includes 24 workshops and four intensives. The 2016 event will be held at the Westin Peachtree Plaza in the heart of downtown Atlanta. Tickets for the conference are required and go on sale in late spring/early summer 2016.

eileen-1437426635-thumb-230-230-10-58-1000-783-90Eileen Falkenberg-Hull is Georgia’s official Festival Explorer and the editor of Occupy My Family, the Atlanta area’s most comprehensive resource for family fun. Click here for more Festival content from Eileen.