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[msp] Best apple orchards in the twin cities?

It seems like apple picking season is here so I am planning
an outing to an orchard with some friends (and children too)
Can anyone recommend an orchard which is not too far from the twin cities
that have good apples?

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  1. Here's a link to Pioneer Press piece on "pick your own" produce that includes some places where you can pick you own apples. http://www.twincities.com/restaurants... You probably don't HAVE to pick your own... :).

    We've been to Aamodt's and Pine Tree in recent years (not for the pick your own) and they were both were fine as a source of apples and apple products. Aamodt's seems to have more cheesy activities for the kids (hay bale maze, toddler-sized tractor "pen", petting zoo, etc.), but I thought the bakery at Pine Tree had the edge.


    Have fun! Please let us know where you end up and how it works out for you.


    1 Reply
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      Aamodts - better apples - more honeycrisp! - I went there last week and picked up some excellent Gala's already.

      Pine tree - better bakery & pumpkin picking as well. (in season)

      I also went to that Emma Crumbee's a few years back (I could have the name wrong) and it had a lot going on - apples/bakery/and large gift shoppe (extra pe for extra high prices) were all nice but for me its too far.

    2. If you are willing to head a little south of the river Sponsel's Minnesota Harvest in Jordan is great. Lot's of stuff to do besides pick apples too, epscially for kids. I've done an event down there for the last couple of years and everybody loves it and looks forward to it. Call ahead to check out the apple picking schedule, because at certain points in the season the pick your own can been limited to a handful of varieties. However they usually have a very well stocked walk in cooler where you can sample before you buy a peck.

      1. We have gone to Minnetonka Orchards for the past few years. It's got lots of activities (hay rides, maze, animals for petting, etc.) and special weekends. It has gotten to be a little expensive, though. They charge for admission now on weekends and I thought that their pick-your-own apples were really expensive last year. It's a fun thing to do with kids, but we're going to try someplace else this year I think.

        EDIT: Note that the address shown below (Old County Road, Wayzata) is not correct. It is located in Minnetrista: 6530 County Road 26, Minnetrista, MN 55364

        Minnetonka Orchards
        Old County Rd, Wayzata, MN 55391

        1. Baker Orchard in Centuria WI gets my vote.(I know its not in the TC, but few good ones are)

          It's small, family run and very knowledgeable. Open pit fires, no cheesy stuff like petting zoos or hayrides (who needs that?) and plenty of chances to PYO. If you aren't adventurous, the apples are lining the tables ready to take home and you can sample all you want. Their fresh pressed apple cider makes me want to fall to my knees in praise.

          Highway 8 through St. Croix Falls, turn North on 35 past the Menards. Follow 35 until you're almost in Centuria (just a few miles) and the orchard is on the right. Non-descript and perfect.

          1. I had no idea there were so many orchards in the area.

            1. Pine Tree in Delwood has always been my favorite! So beautiful..and they put whole wheat flour into thier donuts, so I can feel (a little) less guilty about gorging myself on them. We go every year - I will attach some photos from last year - also, if you have your heart set on picking your own, check before you go to the orchard, not all of them let you pick you own. Pine Tree has lots of apples for sale in thier huge barn, but they do not let you do pick your own.

              *Sorry, not sure why one pic posted sideways, but it wont let me delete it!*

              Pine Tree Apple Orchard
              450 Apple Orchard Rd, Dellwood, MN 55110

              1 Reply
              1. re: autmommy

                Posting my other two pics that wouldn't work above..okay - didn't work - anyone else having problems with posting pics?

              2. I have a little one, so I don't discount all the kid's activities. We usually go to one of the "Appletainment" places - but for apples we've been going to Havlicek's Orchard in Veseli, MN for the last few years. Nice apples and the emphasis is definitely on the fruit and not on the frills.

                Here's the info from the Apple Journal:
                Havlicek's Veseli Vrsek Happy Hill Orchard
                Open 4:30-6:30 pm Mon-Fri; 10 am-6 pm Sat & Sun Aug 15-Dec.
                Directions: located 4 miles north of Veseli or 6 miles east of New Prague, or 10 miles south of Prior Lake off Cty Rd 23.
                Featuring 23 varieties of u-pick or pre-picked apples that ripen from Aug-Oct.

                1. Can anyone recommend a good source for cider? Organic, unpasteurized is preferred, since I would like to make hard cider with it.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: bigchow

                    breezy hill. they have organic unpasteurized, but you'll have to talk with them and special order this item as they don't regularly sell this item BUT THEY DO SELL IT. they have a booth at mill city farmer's market.

                    1. re: soupkitten

                      Awesome. It will be nice to have a cider or maybe even a cyser on tap this winter.

                  2. It is no longer a pick your own place but I like the University of Minnesota Arboretum orchard store a mile west of the Arboretum on Highway 5. They started selling the newly marketed Zestar apple.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Davydd

                      I stopped at the U of MN Arboretum Applestore on Rolling Acres Rd and Hwy 5 in Victoria today and bought both Honeycrisp and Zestar. Eat either one and you will never touch a Red Delicious again. The Zestar was sold on the market the first time last fall and ran out by the middle of September. That might be the case again this year. My judgement, the Zestar, a child of the Honeycrisp is a lot sweeter and less crisp and slightly less tart.

                    2. Deardorff Orchard off Hwy 5 between Victoria and Waconia is great. You get a ride on a tractor pulling a trailer and they sell preserves and unpasteurized cider to enjoy after the apples are gone. You can see some animals and pick up pumpkins as well. All in all it's a great family owned farm for those of us in the western 'burbs. Bonus - they started growing grapes and should be making wine soon.


                      5 Replies
                      1. re: sweetjenny8

                        I couldn't tell from the web site. Is Deardorff a pick your own place?

                        1. re: bob s

                          Fall Harvest Orchard near Delano is a great pick your own place. Quite a few varieties. They also have beautiful pumpkins in unusual colors.

                          Chickens run about freely and kids get to gather a 1/2 dozen brown eggs for free from the henhouse (plus all of the gorgeous feathers lying about).

                          Visiting there has become a rite of autumn for our family.

                          1. re: bob s

                            Yes, it is pick your own and they have the yummy honeycrisps!

                            1. re: bob s

                              In the about us section, it states that they do both pre-picked and pick your own.

                              Edit- this is supposed to be a reply to Bob S.

                              1. re: autmommy

                                Thanks. I didn't see that in the about us section. Probably didn't read it close enough.

                          2. Wow~ Thanks for all the replies.
                            I went to Afton's last year and was planning on going to Aamodts but
                            most of my friends live in the west suburbs so we decided to go to Minnetonka Orchard. I'll post how it was when I come back.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: cocopie

                              we go to Minnetonka Orchards 2x each fall with kids in tow. the kids love the hayride, corn maze, mini petting zoo, horse rides, mini-train, face painting. we love the apples (yes, they have become more expensive), the apple bratwursts, the cider, the donuts, live music and big-screen TV for watching football with lunch. It's also a nice short drive or even a reasonable bike ride (not far from the Luce Line Trail) from most of the western suburbs.

                              We have taken one trip to Deardorf's in Chaska/Waconia...not quite as commercial as MTKA, but they did let my 4 year old son drive the big tractor, which was a huge hit.

                            2. A website that may be of interest/use...Searchable online database of over 200 "Minnesota-grown" products: