How Do You Like Them Apples?

Walter Anderson, center, was one of several in the community who showed up to help the travelers from a recent apple-picking trip unload the heavy bags of produce from the Busy Bee bus to waiting car trunks and pickup trucks. Also shown in front of the bus are McAuthur Weeks, left, Sara McDaniels, Anderson, Lenora Griffin and Melvina Haigler.

BLYTHEWOOD – Sara McDaniels, 92, a life-long member of Round Top Baptist Church, has been organizing apple-picking trips to Hendersonville, N.C. every fall for the last 20 years. And it’s that time of year again for folks to sign up for the trip. While McDaniels’ early trips consisted mostly of members from her church, they now include friends and family from Winnsboro, Elgin and other towns as far away as Atlanta.

“It’s lots of fun, but lots of work to organize it,” McDaniel’s told The Voice recently. That organizing includes contracting with the Busy Bee Bus Lines for a 57-passenger bus months in advance, registering the participants and taking care of a myriad of details. Her daughter, Melvina Haigler of Blythewood, said she suggested to her mother last year that since the passenger list is getting longer every year, it might be getting to be too big of a job. “But mamma said, ‘I’m not giving it up.’ So I said, ‘Go ahead, then!’”

Haigler said she started going on the trips about eight years ago. “It looked like fun and they always brought back such big, beautiful apples. And not just apples. There are many other fall garden vegetables like collards, cabbages, turnips and lots of other things for sale at the farm.”

The bus pulls out from Round Top Church about 7 a.m. and arrives in Hendersonville around 11 a.m. “We first pick apples and shop around the farms in the area,” Haigler said, “then we have lunch and sometimes on the way home we stop at an outlet mall in Spartanburg and do a little Christmas shopping.”

Before they leave the main farm, Haigler said usually sing a gospel song for the woman who owns the farm. “She really loves it,” Haigler said with a smile.

Haigler said the trip home starts off rather quiet, and she usually starts dozing off after the long day. “But then someone in the back starts a little song and before you know it, everyone is singing. It’s really a beautiful trip,” Haigler said.

Arriving back at Round Top between 6 and 7 p.m., husbands and children are there to pick up the passengers and load the trip’s bounty into car trunks and pickup trucks.

“We’re really tired, but it’s a great trip,” McDaniels said. “And I look forward to it every year.”

Haigler said the bus is always full and that it’s first come-first served. Cost is $30 and payment may be made now until Sept. 25. For more information or to reserve a seat on the Busy Bee bus, call Sara McDaniel at 754-3823.