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With fall showing off its peak colors last week, it was the perfect time for a drive and for scouting out two places I'd never visited before. Steve and I determined them to be very much worth finding, both with tasty offerings and friendly people.

Located at 1695 County Road 1141 in Cullman, you will definitely want to put this place in your GPS. But don't worry, it's not difficult to find -- a little off of Hwy. 157, then a short way to Hwy. 278, two of the main roads in Cullman County.

Steele Orchard specializes in apples. It's a relatively small operation with two important surprises. 1) The hours may get shorter in the winter, but it stays open year-round, unlike other apple orchards I've visited. 2) They make amazing fried apple pies ON THE SPOT!! So good.

I saw two varieties I'd never heard of before -- Mutsu and Criterain. Mutsu apples are said to be good for pies and cooking, while Criterain apples are good for both eating raw and cooking. There are 5-pound bags, 1/2 pecks, pecks, and half bushels depending on what you plan on making. The fried pies are $2.00 each and worth every calorie. YUM!!

Steele Orchard also makes apple cider in house, so keep that in mind.

I confess that I've seen this place from I-65 numerous times but had never stopped. Now, I'll be returning again and again. The address is 1825 4th St. SW. in Cullman, but you can see it from the intersection of Hwy. 278 and the interstate. I'm actually surprised you can't smell it from there. Oh my goodness, the scent is incredible when you walk through their door.

Smith Farms specializes in smoked meats but also offers a wide selection of cheeses, jams, jellies, salsas, chow-chows, relishes, candy and frozen veggies. I was very happy to spot Millie Ray orange rolls, since Sister Schubert's are so hard to find. (Have I told you that I went to high school with Sister Schubert's actual SISTER?) :)

Just in time for Thanksgiving and Christmas, they have plenty of smoked turkeys and hams, and you won't believe how great their steaks look. Check it out.

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