Bushels Of Fun

Apple Orchards offer productive fall foliage; lessons in hybrid development

 

APPLE JACK ORCHARDS
4875 37th St. SE, Delano
763.972.6673
www.applejackorchards.com

A family business, Apple Jack Orchards is located just 30 minutes west of Minneapolis, on the banks of the Crow River. Starting out in 1983 with a paltry 250 trees, Applejack Orchards now has over 10,000, bearing a whopping 29 apple types. Some of the varieties that should be available in early- and mid-October include Prairie Spy (large, retains shape when cooked), Haralson, Honey Gold, Liberty (a solid red apple with a nice tart/sweet balance), Regent (crisp and juicy), and Keepsake. Items such as pumpkins, squash, and bakery items are sold inside a 100-year-old barn. There are also wagon rides, haystacks for climbing, and a corn maze for the children. Weekends bring live music and animal rides. Apple Jack Orchards are open through mid-October from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 6:00 p.m. Sunday.

 

HOMESTEAD ORCHARD
1080 N. Cty. Rd. 92, Maple Plain
763.479.2448
www.mnhomesteadorchard.com

Some of the types of apples available for picking at Homestead Orchard include Regent, Cortland, Fireside, Honey Crisp, Prairie Spy, and Haralson. Also, thanks in part to a 300-gallon cider press, Fred and Gretchen Harvey take pride in their spectacular homemade cider. According to them, that taste of cider is as complex as chocolate, tea, or wine. For example, varying factors such as the weather, apple type, and the expertise of the cider maker affect each batch with no crop tasting exactly alike from year to year. Also at Homestead Orchard is a petting zoo with people-friendly animals that enjoy being hand-fed, wagon rides, and a shop filled with apple items such as chips, pies, sundaes, and doughnuts. There's even a moonwalk where kids can burn off any excess energy while adults pause for a moment to take in the crisp air and lovely fall foliage. Tables and grassy areas throughout the orchard are perfect for fall picnics. Call the Apple Hotline at 612.479.3186 or sign up online for up-to-date info on apple availability. Open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

 

AAMODT'S APPLE FARM
6428 Manning Ave. N., Stillwater
651.439.3127
www.aamodtsapplefarm.com

This apple farm began in 1948 when Thor and Lucille Aamodt planted the first of what are now 6,000 trees on 60 acres. Adding to the old-fashioned charm are apple storage and prep barns, a granary, and a bakery, all open to the public. Of the over 26 apple varieties, October crops include Delicious, Red Fireside, Regent (all great in salads), and Keepsake. Apple tastings are available as well. Other activities include a John Deere trike and tractor farm, petting zoo, and hay bale maze. Be sure to try the popular apple brats with some fresh cider and a slice of pie. Weekends are even more spectacular with hayrides, strolling musicians, and pony rides. The upcoming Apple Harvest Festival will feature family-friendly activities on the first two weekends in October. Aamodt's Apple Farm is open seven days a week from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Call ahead for apple availability.

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