17 Oct Fall Festivities: Pick Your Own Apples at an Orchard
Picking fresh fruits and veggies has almost become some sort of strange obsession for me. We have picked everything from oranges, blueberries, strawberries, apples and raspberries to pumpkins and corn, and we even joined in on a grape harvest at a local winery. This fall, I was determined to get back out and pick apples again (last time we made an AMAZING apple pie…just saying), and as luck would have it, we went out apple picking twice in one week! Fall in Minnesota is prime time for apple picking, and there are many orchards around the Twin Cities where you can pick to your hearts content.
Our first stop was Aamodt’s Apple Farm in Stillwater, and wow, was it ever busy! We visited on a Sunday, when the temperatures happened to be in the upper 70’s, so people were out in droves soaking up what might be the last of our warm days for the year. In addition to pick your own apples, the orchard offers a gift shop, a goat farm, playgrounds, hay rides, hot air balloon rides, snacks and food including their famous Apple Brat, and wine from the onsite St. Croix Vineyards.
After purchasing our apple bag from behind the barn, we set out in search of some apples. I’m not sure if we visited towards the end of the season or if the orchard was just very picked over, but it took us quite some time to find trees with good apples on them—many of the apples were starting to rot or already off the tree. Once we made our way to the back of the orchard, we finally found some good trees and were able to fill up our bag with plenty of fresh, delicious apples. The price of the pick your own apples was pretty reasonable at $14 for an 8 lb bag and $20 for a 12 lb bag.
There are also vineyards right next to the orchard, so it was fun to take a quick peek at the vines as well. We didn’t end up staying at the orchard for too long because we had to head out for dinner, but next time I would really like to try the apple brat to see what all the fuss is about!
Minnetonka Orchards is located completely on the other side of the metropolitan area from the first orchard we visited. And, even though its name would lead you to believe it is located in Minnetonka, it’s not—it is actually located in Minnetrista, which is understandably confusing. Once you can get past the name and end up in the right place, Minnetonka Orchards is a wonderful spot to pick apples and the trees are overflowing with fresh delicious fruit.
One of my favorite aspects about this spot is that it is open until 7 p.m. daily, something that was very difficult to find as most orchards seem to close at 5 p.m. which makes visiting after work during the week impossible. Weeknights also offer free admission, but there is an admission charge to enter on the weekends ($7 per person); admission includes a number of perks such as a hay ride and petting barn.
After getting our fill of photos, we finally got around to picking the apples and loading up our bag—we ended up splitting a bag with our friends for a couple of reasons. Number one, we all had a bunch of apples at home already, and number two, the bags were a bit on the spendy side at $29 per 8 lb bag. Even though they were priced higher than other orchards we have visited in the past, the apples were delicious and the trees were filled to the brim with apples that screamed “pick me, pick me!”
The property is home to much more than just an apple orchard—they also offer a gift shop with baked goods, gifts, already picked apples, hay rides, trails, a petting barn, trails, a corn maze, playgrounds, and more. Micah formed a nice bond with the cow, but I was a bit more partial to the goats. Really, I just wanted to see them climb up to the roof on their nifty ramp, but they were still cute even though they ignored my requests to climb.
We had to make a quick detour to the corn maze/field, as well. I’m not sure if it was an actual maze because it was very easy to get out of, but it was still fun to wander around and get a bit lost in the field in the areas where the corn was taller than your head.
And, of course, we had to make another pie with the apples that were suddenly filling up our fridge. It may not have been the prettiest of pies, but it sure tasted pretty dang good!
Overall, I’m not sure which orchard I enjoyed more—they both had their perks and we had a great time at each one. I would like to keep exploring more of the local orchards though, as there are so many of them in the area; I suppose that will have to be on my list for next fall!
Have you ever picked apples or any other type of fruit?