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Minnesota Apple Orchards Offer Great Family Fun

Take a Look at These 15 Apple Orchards in the Twin Cities Area
If you’ve never taken your family for a half-day or day trip to an apple orchard in Minnesota, then you’re really missing out on some wonderful family fun. There are more than 100 apple orchards in Minnesota, and many of them are in the Twin Cities area. Apple picking season goes until late October.
Apple orchards provide many ways to engage families and children of all ages, notes Minnesota Grown Spokesman Paul Hugunin. It’s a wonderful way to introduce kids to how delicious fresh picked produce can taste! Many orchards also offer fresh apple cider, pumpkins, fall raspberries and fun fall activities like hay rides, crop mazes and petting zoos.
Most growers report apple varieties are ripening slightly later than typical, due to the late spring. According to Charlie Johnson, President of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association, the 2014 crop will be good for growers and consumers, despite the especially harsh winter. Many varieties will be as big, or bigger, than last year. The harsh winter weather has affected some varieties, in some orchards, but most producers have come through the winter with an excellent crop!
Minnesota is known for flavorful apple varieties specifically bred to thrive in our climate. This includes University of Minnesota cultivars such as the Zestar!, Honeycrisp, SweeTango, Haralson and Sweet Sixteen.
We’ve compiled a list of 15 of the best apple orchards for family fun in the Twin Cities area. Also below are links to three websites that feature lists and maps for just about every apple orchard in Minnesota.
Enjoy the fall and we hope to see you taking part in a Minnesota tradition!
Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown offers a free statewide guide to more than 100 apple orchards.
Orange Pippin is a comprehensive resource for apples and orchards.
The Apple Journal has an extensive list of orchards.
Aamodt’s Apple Farm, Stillwater
Bagged and pick-your-own apples, cider, bakery with pies and more, bratwurst, tractor-pulled wagon and kiddie train rides, hay bale maze, goat pen, and pedal tractors and trikes for little kids. Plus an added bonus is St. Croix Vineyard has a tasting room a few steps from the apple barn at Aamodt’s.
Phone: 651-439-3127
Afton Apple Orchards, Afton
Bagged and pick-your-own apples, fall raspberries, pumpkins, wagon rides, 15-acre corn maze, straw bale maze, straw mountain, tire hill, petting farm, “train” rides and bakery stocked with pies, pastries and jams. Phone: 651-436-8385
Apple Jack Orchards, Delano
A cheerful, family-run orchard, with lots of varieties of apples, including the latest University of Minnesota apple, SweeTango. There’s lots of things to do for children, like a play area, petting zoo, and wagon rides all week, and entertainment and live music are added at the weekend.
Phone: 763 972-6673
Anoka County Farms, Ham Lake
This farm has plenty of things to do, to turn apple picking into a full family day out. Hay rides, corn maze, petting zoo, food for sale, pony rides, pumpkin patch, and all the classic fall farm entertainment.
Phone: 763-427-0000
Applewood Orchard, Lakeville
Bagged and pick-your-own apples, fall raspberries, 8-acre corn maze, hedge maze for kids, wagon rides, haystack and store with baked goods and jams.
Phone: 952-985-5425
Emma Krumbee’s Orchard and Farm, Belle Plaine
Lots of fall attractions at this popular farm include pick-your-own apples, petting zoo, maze, restaurant, and an annual scarecrow festival. Take a tractor ride out to the apple orchards to pick your own apples. There is an admission charge for some attractions at the farm.
Phone: 952-873-3654
Fireside Orchard and Gardens, Northfield
This apple orchard, about 40 minutes south of Minneapolis, also grows plenty of Halloween pumpkins, and has a collection of vintage tractors to admire.
Phone: 507-663-1376
Homestead Orchard, Maple Plain
Claiming to be the oldest, and largest apple orchard in the area, with 8,000 trees. As well as Homestead Orchard’s vast apple orchard, there is also a pumpkin patch, plus a petting zoo, free hayrides, jumping castle and straw pile. Fall fun at its finest. (Note: They don’t have a website, but you can find them on Facebook and on Yelp).
Phone: 763 479-3186
McDougall’s Apple Junction, Hastings
McDougalls, in a scenic St. Croix Valley location, has pre-picked apples for sale, as well as a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, a children’s playground, grilled apple brats, rides and a corn maze.
Phone: 651-480-4701
Minnesota Harvest Apple, Jordan
Not just apples at this orchard: this farm has a petting zoo, playground, pumpkin patch, a corn maze, horse rides, live music and seasonal entertainment plus apples galore.
Phone: 952-492-2785
Minnetonka Orchards, Mound
This apple orchard is a popular destination with lots of attractions, hayrides, playground, seasonal events and entertainment. Minnetonka Orchards has an entrance charge, but only at the weekends, so the thrifty can save by visiting during the week.
Phone: 763-479-3191
Natura Farms, Marine-on-St. Croix
Pick your own apples at Natura Farm, as well as other seasonal produce like red raspberries and grapes.
Phone: 651 433-5850
Pine Tree Apple Orchard, White Bear Lake
Bagged apples, pumpkins, corn maze, pony rides, live music and bakery stocked with pies, caramel apples and more.
Phone: 651-429-7202
 Pleasant Valley Orchard, Taylors Falls
The orchard offers sweeping views of the St. Croix Valley in full fall dress. Apple shed, vintage barn, lots of apples, bakery items and gift shop, pick-your-own weekends, hayrides, farm animals, kid’s corral, nature trail, and picnic area.
Phone: 651-257-9159
 Whistling Well Farm, Hastings
Bagged and pick-your-own apples, mums, pumpkins, a chicken coop to explore and a shop stocked with local honey, jams, corn shocks, gourds and fall decorations.
Phone: 651-998-0301

SOURCES: Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Orange Pippin, Star Tribune, Apple Journal

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