October 20, 2021

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13 Apple Orchards Worth a Stop This Season

We all know the drill by now: Every business is running a little differently, and that includes our apple orchards. But there are still plenty of spots worthy of a full fall day, complete with apple-picking, pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and cider donuts. Here are a few around the metro area—just be sure to call ahead or check websites before you go, as Mother Nature and COVID can change availabilities and restrictions quickly.

Aamodt’s Apple Farm

The apple orchard/winery/cider extravaganza is open seven days a week for the rest of the season. Apple-lovers can pick their own Monday–Friday (check the website for apple availability and timing updates) and purchase a variety of Minnesota apples (yes, including Honeycrisp) 10 a.m.–6 p.m. daily inside the barn. The wagon rides are on hold this year due to COVID, but the goat farm, gift-and-treat shop, cider house, and winery are still open for a whole day of fall fun. 6428 Manning Ave., Stillwater, 651-439-3127, aamodtsapplefarm.com

Apple Jack Orchards

Delano’s Apple Jack Orchards is back in full force this year. Pick your own bushel (the team lists availability daily online) or let the pros do it for you and buy a pre-picked bag in the apple market. The whole fam can make a day of it by exploring the corn maze, playing in the corn pit and on the jumping pillow, checking out the apple cannon, riding the cow train or wagons (weekends only), selecting a pumpkin from the patch, shopping the gift store, and stopping for lunch onsite—no outside food is allowed, but Apple Jack has expanded their outdoor seating options to fully allow for social distancing on busy fall days. 4875 37th St., Delano, 763-972-6673, applejackorchards.com

Deardorff Orchards

Out in Waconia, Deardorff Orchards and Parley Lake Winery are open Fridays 2–6 p.m. (no U-pick Fridays) and weekends (U-pick and pre-picked available) 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Thirsty from exploring the orchard’s 125 acres? Stop inside the tasting room for local sips and a chance to see its new art gallery. Check parleylakewinery.com for food truck and live music schedules. 8282 Parley Lake Rd., Waconia, deardorfforchards.com

Deer Lake Orchard 

Of course you can pick your own apples (and/or purchase pre-picked) at Deer Lake, outside Buffalo, but your fall day doesn’t stop there—stay for weekend wagon rides, a four-acre corn maze, the kids’ play area, an apple slingshot (apples can fly how far?!), pumpkin and gourd patches, lots of animals to visit, live music, and food options (music and food weekends only). Check the website for current U-pick options for their 28-plus apple varieties. Want to keep the apple party going? Pick up a take-n-back pie or apple crisp and your house will smell like fall all evening long. 1903 SW 10th St., Buffalo, 763-682-4284, deerlakeorchard.com

Emma Krumbee’s

At this sweet spot, ride a wagon out to the orchard to pick your own (depending on availability and Mother Nature’s fickle timing, you may be able to select from up to 10 varieties). While you’re there, choose your own pumpkin or gourd, check out the Scarecrow Festival, and snack on apple-y treats—just don’t forget to take home a freshly baked pie, crisp, or bread, too. 311 Enterprise Dr. E., Belle Plaine, 952-873-3006, emmakrumbees.com

Fireside Orchard and Gardens

You may not be able to pick your own apples at Fireside, near Northfield, but it’s still an idyllic backdrop for a sunny fall day. Buy pre-picked apples (27 varieties throughout the season), explore the rose garden and fish pond, play lawn games, snack on donuts, and more. Not feeling the crowds? Preorder apples and pick ’em up curbside all season—or find the Fireside team at the Minneapolis Farmers Market if a trip to Northfield isn’t in the cards this year. 2225 Lonsdale Blvd. E., Northfield, 507-663-1376, firesideorchard.com

LuceLine Orchard

This Watertown gem is open Wednesday–Sunday for U-pick and pre-picked apples (featuring varieties like Honeycrisp, Haralson, Keepsake, and Snow Sweet) and Insta-classic fall activities like a 30 (!!) acre corn maze, apple slingin’ (pretty much what it sounds like), hayrides, kids’ train rides, pumpkin picking, treat-and-gift shopping, face painting, farm animal peeping, and plenty more. Food, cider, beer, wine, and the orchard’s famous apple fritters are available when hunger strikes. Check the website for live music schedules and apple-y updates. 2755 Rose Ave., Watertown, 612-817-6229, lucelineorchard.com

Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

Looking for some unique varieties? Minnesota Harvest has over two dozen apple breeds available for U-pick and pre-picked purchase, depending on when in the season you show up. Plus, visit their farm animals, get lost in a corn maze, take a hayride through the trees, and sip some housemade (er, orchard-made) cider on the patio. 8251 Old Hwy. 169 Blvd., Jordan, 952-492-2785, minnesotaharvest.net

Minnetonka Orchards

Under new ownership this year, one of the area’s most popular orchards (and one that’s closest to the metro) is back with its full roster of attractions this year: U-pick and bagged apples, hot cider, pumpkin patches, hayrides, food and treats—including the famous cider donuts—live music, animal pats, kids’ activities, and more. (Note that admission is free Wednesday–Friday, then bumps up to $10/adult and $7/kid on weekends. 6530 County Rd. 26, Minnetrista, 763-325-4024, minnetonkaorchardmn.com

Montgomery Orchard

Montgomery’s U-pick experience and pre-picked bags are back this year, with a dozen kinds of apples available throughout the season (and two kinds of pears, hello). The six-acre corn maze is back this year, with shorter and more difficult options, but hay rides are off for 2021 due to COVID. You can still make a day of the trip, though, with nature walks, live music, food trucks, and housemade ciders and wines. 15953 State Hwy. 99, Montgomery, 952-221-1051, montgomeryorchard.com

Pine Tree Apple Orchard

Another close-to-the-metro option, White Bear Lake’s favorite orchard grows more than 20 apple varieties for pre-picked purchase. When you stop by to grab a bag or two, stroll through the corn maze, select your perfect pumpkin from the patch, and find a sweet treat or local gift in the shop. 450 Apple Orchard Rd., White Bear Lake, 651-429-7202, pinetreeappleorchard.com

Sweetland Orchard

The crowded tastings inside the barn are off once more in 2021, but the Sweetland team offers a sweet alternative: At least 12 hours before you plan to arrive, purchase apple and/or cider tasting kits online, and apple boxes brimming with your selection (plus cards to teach you about what you’re tasting, and a cutting board and knife for the apple kits) will be ready for you once you get there. Bring your own picnic or buy some local meats and cheeses once you arrive, then take your bounty to picnic tables dotted through the orchard. Find a new favorite? Buy bags of apples or bottles of cider on your way out—and don’t forget to say hi to the pigs and chickens. 26205 Fairlawn Ave., Webster, 651-252-4337, sweetlandorchard.com

Whistling Well Farm

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Whistling Well offers U-pick and pre-picked apples, as well as mums, pumpkins, housemade preserves and jellies, baked goods, cider, and gifts—including a children’s book series about the farm’s own dog, Emmy. Depending on the day, the orchard also hosts live music and food trucks (check the website for updates). 8973 St. Croix Tr. S., Hastings, 651-998-0301, whistlingwellfarm.com