Brian is a 3M research scientist and dog-sledder who bought a farm from an HRC bigwig. On the farm is a small orchard of 700 trees, including some HRC test-trees that never got named (love that 1797, and boy, that 1403...) and a number of rare varieties, like the delicious Chestnut Crab, a tart and almost taffy-mellow apple that typically grows about the size of a lime, or the old-fashioned Wealthy, a spicy apple with a gorgeous striped dark skin. Brian can be found at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market on weekends, and sometimes at the Nicollet Mall site. He also teaches a $50 workshop on apple-tree care (did you know that if you don't thin the little fruits from your tree this spring you won't get apples next year?) so that backyard farmers can have better (or any) fruit. (Write to Brian at 11225 County Road 20, Delano, MN, 55328, e-mail him at, or snag him at his Ames Farms stand at the market for further details.)

Bob and Molly say that their lives have changed dramatically since taking on the Homestead Orchard. Bob used to be a produce manager for a Minneapolis grocery store, and his involvement with fruit was mostly about uncrating it--when unpacking bananas, to look out for black widows and tarantulas. Now they live vividly in the weather, each day's sun, rain, or wind changing not only their apples' subtle tastes, but their own very palpable future (they watched 30 percent of their apples fall off in one 20-minute July windstorm).

Living vividly in the seasons is a challenge for the rest of us too, but now and for the next several weeks it's possible, through the miracle of apples. They are the flesh of the weather and time we have just moved through, and they're at their peak right now.

Location Info


Homestead Orchard

1080 N. Cty Road 92
Maple Plain, MN 55359

Category: Retail

Region: Outstate


THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE: Gourmet readers are different than you and me--they're rich. Or at least they like to say they are. Gourmet has announced the results of its annual survey of readers, and the top 20 restaurants in the Twin Cities are, according to them, from first to last: D'Amico Cucina, Goodfellow's, the St. Paul Grill, Kincaid's Chop and Fish House, Lucia's, the 510, Schumacher's, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Morton's of Chicago, Ristorante Luci, Palomino Eurobistro, Lowell Inn, Manny's Steak House, Gustino's, Origami, Bayport American Cookery, the Whitney Grille, the Loring Cafe, Murray's, and Forepaugh's.

CROP-ART ENTHUSIAST?: OK guys, I just know one of you can win this. If you create a dazzling work of art on one of those Boboli pizza crusts and submit a color photograph or slide of it to the Boboli folk, you might find yourself on a jazzy trip in Florence--and I know you're all familiar with the concept. Crop art? Butter sculptures? If anyone knows how to make food into art it's a Minnesotan, and you've got until December 31 to submit as many entries as you like. Send for official rules to the Art of Boboli Contest, Box 3922, Schaumburg, IL, 60168-3922. I know you can! I know you can!

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