Category - Apple Orchards

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Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities Guide
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Free Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities
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Family Fun Twin Cities Guide to Apple Orchards
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Family Fun Idea: Twin Cities Pick-Your-Own Produce Farms
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Recipe Wednesday: Strawberry Rhubarb Applesauce + Twin Cities Apple Orchard Picks
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10 Twin Cities Fall Festivals
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Meet Local Author Erin Soderberg at Apple Tree-O during 1st Annual Orchard Crawl
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Twin Cities Apple Orchards: 4 Picks in the West Metro
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Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Go West, Young Man (and Women)
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Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Southern Hospitality

Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities Guide

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This month, FFTC is proudly sponsored by

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It is our hope that you can use our September Family Events & Activities Guide page as a convenient way to find our traditional Free & Budget lists along with all the special themed activities each month brings. In September we are highlighting our favorite apple orchards, pumpkin patches and corn mazes across the Twin Cities Metro as well as keeping up with the harvest of fall festivals cropping up. As always, we hope to be inspiration in planning your family time together!

– Anne, Gianna & Joy
Family Fun Twin Cities

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Free Twin Cities September Family Events & Activities

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TWIN CITIES SEPTEMBER SPECIAL EVENTS – FREE

9/2: Forever Wild Family Friday: Scavenger Hunt  @ Lebanon Hills Regional Park Visitor Center, Eagan • 7-8:30pm • Details: Get out as a family and hike the fall trails.


FFTC is proudly sponsored by
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Family Fun Twin Cities Guide to Apple Orchards

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Twin Cities-area apple orchards have already begun throwing their doors open to usher in the picking season! Find an old favorite or a new destination to spend a fall day from our Guide below.

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Family Fun Idea: Twin Cities Pick-Your-Own Produce Farms

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pleasant valley orchard mn

When you’ve got parents who don’t garden, how’s a kid supposed to satisfy that itch to hunt and gather? The solution in our family is to visit a variety of pick-your-own farms and orchards throughout the growing season and let the kids harvest to their little hearts’ content. We love to scout berries in the summer months, fresh veggies as summer wanes, and we cram as many apple orchard trips into the fall as our schedule allows. It may cost a little more than purchasing at our local grocery store, but we believe the experience is worth it. Read More

Recipe Wednesday: Strawberry Rhubarb Applesauce + Twin Cities Apple Orchard Picks

Pairing Twin Cities Outings with Recipes at Home

This week’s installment of Recipe Wednesday hopes that you’ve been able to make it out to one of the wonderful Twin Cities-area apple orchards (and if you haven’t, we’ve got a list of a few to try at the end of the recipe bit). I know garden-fresh strawberries and rhubarb aren’t easy to come by this time of year, but this simple applesauce recipe from the local blog Dining With Alice looked so tasty I just had to share.

Crock-Pot-Strawberry-Rhubarb-Apple-Sauce[1]Strawberry Rhubarb Applesauce (courtesy Alice Seuffert, Dining With Alice)
Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Strawberries (stems removed, halved)
  • 2 lbs apples cored (skin on and quartered)
  • ½ cup Apple Juice or Cider
  • 2 cups Rhubarb (chopped)
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon

Directions:

  1.  Combine ingredients and cook on low in a slow cooker for 8 hours.
  2.  Once cooked, use an immersion blender (or regular blender) to get your desired consistency of the  apple sauce.
  3.  Alice recommends the sauce over vanilla ice cream with caramel sauce.

But first order of business, where to find these apples for the sauce? Family Fun Twin Cities has got you covered. (And as a bonus, several of these orchards also offer pumpkin patches and other fall activities.)

PicMonkey Collage apple orchard - Copy


10 Twin Cities Fall Festivals

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If you’re not yet in the mood for fall, this list should do the trick! It’s chock full of everything we like best about the season. And don’t forget, we’re drawing for 2 family 4-packs of tickets to Sever’s Corn Maze & Fall Festival tomorrow! You can find out how to enter by following this link.

AttractionsPage[1]Twin Cities Harvest Festival & Maze, 8001 109th Ave. N, Brooklyn Park
When: Open weekends Sept. 19-Oct. 25 plus MEA weekend • 10am-6pm
Cost: $10/pp online, $12 at gate, kids under 36″ free
Details: Touted as MN’s largest corn maze, this year’s theme celebrates the Minnesota Wild! Solve the maze, play in the corn pit, meet the animals, and take a hayride. Additional activities charge a small fee.

scarecrowfest-3[1]Scarecrow Festival @ Emma Krumbees, 351 Enterprise Drive E, Belle Plaine
When: Now through Oct. 30 • 10am-6pm
Cost: $5.50/pp plus tax
Details: Admission includes entrance to the festival plus run of the playground, farm animals, wagon rides, a slide and more. Pick-your-own apples in Emma’s orchard are an additional charge.

Lone Oak Days Fall Festival @ Holz Farm, 4665 Manor Dr, Eagan
When: Sat. & Sun., Sept. 19-20 • 11am-4pm
Cost: Free admission and many free activities, small fees for food & attractions
Details: Hosted by the historic Holz Farm, the festival is packed with pioneer farm demonstrations and activities plus kids coin hunts, live music, pony rides, and a pumpkin pie-eating contest.

09272014_PartyOnThePrairie10[2]Party in the Prairie @ Richardson Nature Center, 8737 East Bush Lake Rd, Bloomington
When: Saturday, Sept. 19 • 3:30-8pm
Cost: $6/pp pre-registered or $8/pp at the door
Details: Meet birds from the U of M’s Raptor Center, try out a 25-foot climbing wall, take a guided hike or digital scavenger hunt, and enjoy live music as the sun sets. Food will be available for purchase.

2008-Raptor-Release-by-Jeff-Fischer-031-300x240[1]Fall Raptor Release @ Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center, 12805 St Croix Trail S, Hastings
When: Saturday, Sept. 26 • 10am-3pm
Cost: Free
Details: Raptors nursed back to health by the U of M’s Raptor Center will be released back into the wild at 11am & 2pm. Also enjoy hayrides through the apple orchard, kids activities and more.

Apple Festival @ Gibbs Farm Museum, 2097 Larpenteur Ave, Falcon Heights
When: Saturday, Oct. 3 • 10am-4pm
Cost: $8/adults, $7/seniors, $5/children 4-16, members & under 4 free
Details: Oodles of apples! Apple games, apple crafts, sample apples from the orchard and enjoy lunch plus tours of the farmhouse, hayrides and more. All activities and food are included in the admission fee.

Family Harvest Hayride @ Dodge Nature Center, 1701 Charlton St., West St. Paul
When: Saturday, Oct. 3 • 1-3pm
Cost: $7/pp or $20/family
Details: In addition to the titular hayrides is apple cider pressing and sampling, a look into the bee hives, a bonfire and popcorn.

Fall on the Farm @ Eidem Homestead, 4345 101st Ave N, Brooklyn Park
When: Saturday, Oct. 3 • Noon-3pm
Cost: $6/adults, $4/kids ages 4-12, under 4 free
Details: Farm chores abound! Harvest garden veggies, press cider, carve pumpkins and bake fall treats in the kitchen. Experience life on the farm as you prepare for the winter ahead.

Apple Festival @ Afton Apple Orchard, 14421 S. 90th St., Hastings
When: Oct. 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 • 10am-6pm
Cost: $4/pp ages 5+, $3/pp under 5
Details: In addition to the seasonal weekend activities (playground, petting farm, kiddie train, hayrides, pick-your-own apples) there are chainsaw carving demos, cider press demos, live bluegrass music and more.

Stillwater Harvest Fest @ City of Stillwater, MN
When: Sat. & Sun., Oct. 10-11 • 10am-6pm (11am Sunday)
Cost: Free admission, fee for some activities
Details: Don’t miss the giant pumpkin weigh-in, pumpkin regatta or the kids pumpkin pull! Plus, lovely downtown Stillwater will be dressed in her fall best.


 

Meet Local Author Erin Soderberg at Apple Tree-O during 1st Annual Orchard Crawl

Erin Soderberg

At 3 p.m. make your way to Apple Tree-O during the 1st Annual Orchard Crawl on Sunday, September 20 to hear Erin Soderberg introduce you to the Quirks and maybe even her Puppy Pirates.

(psst..she also writes under a couple of pseudonyms.  If your kids like LEGO Ninjago and the LEGO movie, she has written about Zane and Emmett, too!)

Erin is a delightful children’s author and silly mama of three. She coming to the orchard crawl with her family.

She is looking forward to meeting you, hanging out at Apple Tree-O with you, and reading to you.

Apple Tree-O
5667 90th St. SE (Franklin Township Rd)
Delano, MN  55328
1st Annual Orchard Crawl
Sunday, September 20, 2015
11:00-4:00
Get Tickets here
Children's Author: Erin Soderberg

Children’s Author: Erin Soderberg

If you are unable to come to the Orchard Crawl or want to visit more orchards, we have visited a plethora of orchards for you.

East Metro

North Metro

South Metro

Southeast Metro

West Metro

 

 

 

Twin Cities Apple Orchards: 4 Picks in the West Metro

For our next installment of our Twin Cities Apple Orchard Guide, Gianna and I team up to review a few fresh picks from the West Metro. I’ll be sharing my family’s trips to Apple Jack Orchards near Delano and Gianna will tell you about Minnetonka Orchards of Minnetrista, as well as highlighting two other family-owned orchards featured in FFTC’s First Annual Orchard Crawl, Apple Tree-O and Luce Line Orchard. The crawl will take place Sunday, September 20 from 11am-4pm and you can purchase tickets here.

Apple Jack Orchards

Apple Jack Orchards in Delano, Minnesota, could be one of those day-long fall destinations. There’s just that much going on there. And perhaps that’s what you’re looking for – an orchard packed with activities to appeal to every age in your family. Or, if slipping away from the hubbub and wandering among the apple trees sounds more up your alley, we’ve had that experience there, too.

One note of caution: it was easier to empty our wallet at this orchard than at any of the others we’ve visited over the past few years. Much of this has to do with the size of our family: four riders on the kiddie cow train, four little sets of legs wanting to bounce skyward on the jumping pillow, four launches of the apple cannon. This was all before the four little harvesters were set loose in the apple orchard and the raspberry patch. We made sure to take stock of the available activities and set limits ahead of time.

Take heart; Apple Jack has a nice little play area with slides and hay bales, a barnyard of animals and a small maze – all free, plus there is no admission charged to enter the orchard. You could skip the a la carte activities and easily make an afternoon of hunting for that perfect peck of Honeycrisp. (I should also mention that it’s do-able to walk to the orchard portion of the farm instead buying a ride on the tractor wagon. Free carts were available for toting small children and loads of apples!). Live music is scheduled each weekend through the fall; find the complete lineup here.

Orchard Notes
Location: 4875 37th Street SE, Delano, MN 55328
Hours: Daily fall hours are 10 am – 6 pm.  As always, call (763-972-6673) or check the website for the latest information.
Picking: PYO apples are available on fall weekends only and availability depends on what’s currently ripe. Always check the website or call ahead before coming to pick! A bag is purchased ahead of time (about $12 per half peck, I believe). Fall raspberries are also ripening, always call for conditions – 763-972-6673.
Prices: Admission to the orchard to enjoy the live music, kids play area and petting farm is free. Activities that charge a fee are as follows: wagon rides to the orchard ($3 per person, ages 4 & under ride free), corn box play ($3), jumping pillow ($3), apple cannon & slingshot ($3), pony rides ($4), corn maze ($6) and an extensive menu of apple treats and lunch items available in the barn.

Minnetonka Orchards

Family owned and operated, beginning as Apple Farm in 1976, Minnetonka Orchards, near Minnetrista, has grown into a beautiful orchard destination. I (Gianna) have visited two times with many years in between and each time, I was happily surprised at what awaited.

Basic Facts:

  • The orchard is open every day from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm.
  • It is free on weekdays and has a $7 entrance fee on the weekends.
  • The entrance fee includes all activities while on the weekdays, you have to pay for a hay ride–$2.
  • Also, on weekends, children get free face painting and a free Apple Express Ride.  That’s when the grill is open and the orchard does not allow outside food to be brought in.
  • The playground, petting zoo–Owen’s Barnyard–the Hay mountain, giant sandbox and the corn crib slide are included with admission.

Orchard Notes
Location:
6530 County Rd. 26, Minnetrista, MN 55364
Hours: Open daily 10am – 7pm
Picking: Call ahead (763-479-6530) so see what varieties are available for pick-your-own.
Prices: Admission is free on weekdays. Weekend admission costs $7/pp (ages 3 & under are free) and includes all the activities.
FFTC Orchard Crawl Special: With your Orchard Crawl ticket, you can enjoy hayrides, live music, face painting, a ride on the Apple Express (for kids) and a scavenger hunt. Bring your completed scavenger hunt to the Retail Barn and if you completed it correctly, you’ll receive a free dozen of their delicious apple donuts (limit one per party).  There is no entry fee to Minnetokna Orchards with your Orchard Crawl ticket!

Apple Tree-O branch 2Apple Tree-O

We’re excited to pair up with this home-grown orchard on our first annual Orchard Crawl!

 

Orchard Notes
Location:
5667 90th St., Delano, MN
Hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 11am-5pm
Picking: Pick-your-own apples available on the weekends. Click here to see what’s ripe!
FFTC Orchard Crawl Special: Work an apple press, try some blacksmithing, enjoy some delicious food and settle down to hear local children’s author, Erin Soderberg, read from her series, The Quirks, at 3:00 pm!

tm luce lineLuceLine Orchard

LuceLine, which sits directly on the Luce Line State Trail in Watertown, put its roots in during 2004. Special activities at this orchard include weekend hayrides, a corn maze ($6), hay mountain to climb, kiddie train ($3), a corn box and farm animals.

Orchard Notes
Location:
2755 Rose Ave, Watertown, Minnesota 55388
Hours:
Open Thursday-Sunday, 10am-6pm.
Picking:
Due to a summer tornado, there will be no pick-your-own apples for 2015. Pre-picked apples are available for purchase.
FFTC Orchard Crawl Special: With your Orchard Crawl ticket, you’ll get half-off admission for their hayride and corn maze, plus a $5 coupon off a peck of apples. And kid-rock favorites, The Bazillions, will take the stage at 1:00 pm!


Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Go West, Young Man (and Women)

For our next installment of our Twin Cities Apple Orchard Guide, Gianna and I team up to review a few fresh picks from the West Metro. I’ll be sharing my family’s trips to Apple Jack Orchards and Fall Harvest Orchard near Delano, and Gianna will tell you about Minnetonka Orchards of Minnetrista.

Apple Jack Orchards

apple jack orchards

Apple Jack Orchards in Delano, Minnesota, could be one of those day-long fall destinations. There’s just that much going on there. And perhaps that’s what you’re looking for – an orchard packed with activities to appeal to every age in your family. Or, if slipping away from the hubbub and wandering among the apple trees sounds more up your alley, we’ve had that experience there, too.

One note of caution: it was easier to empty our wallet at this orchard than at any of the others we’ve visited over the past few years. Much of this has to do with the size of our family: four riders on the kiddie cow train, four little sets of legs wanting to bounce skyward on the jumping pillow, four launches of the apple cannon. This was all before the four little harvesters were set loose in the apple orchard and the raspberry patch. We made sure to take stock of the available activities and set limits ahead of time. Read More

Twin Cities Apple Orchards: Southern Hospitality

Two more orchards to consider down south of the Metro. Make a day of it at Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest in Jordan, Emma Krumbee’s between Jordan and Belle Plaine, or Applewood Orchard in Lakeville.

Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest

Driving into Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard is driving into Apple Land. I know there is no such place as Apple Land, but I just created it in my head.

Located just a couple miles southwest of Jordan just off Highway 169, Minnesota Harvest is the iconic orchard. Driving up to a big old barn on your right, you make an immediate left and drive through a canopy of trees lining the driveway. As you drive into the parking lot, you are greeted personally by a ticket vendor. On the weekends, it cost $2 per person but those under age 3 are free. Admission includes:

  • wagon rides
  • kiddie train
  • hay jumping castle
  • live music
  • petting zoo
  • corn maze

Attractions that cost extra:

  • vintage horse & carriage rides – $3/pp
  • Apple Launcher – $1 per launch
  • face painting – $3/cheek, $5/full face
  • pony rides

During the week, admission to the orchard is free.

At Minnesota Harvest, you pick a peck. They don’t do 1/2 pecks. And a full peck costs $20 which ends up being less than $2/lb. At the time we went, we could choose from Haralson, Cortland, and Honey Gold. We took a free wagon ride out to the orchards and back. When the driver stopped, he called out the type of apples we could find in that particular section. The drivers were friendly and helpful and very patient.

The Apple Lodge is a big dimly lit building where you can find face painting and the Dicken’s Village Shoppes and a goodie or two to enjoy. This is where you purchase your bag for apple picking, pay for extra attractions, pick up apples already picked, and grab lunch.

I liked that Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard  was tucked away from the busy road, that there was a big barn, and that you were surrounded by the quintessential apple orchard atmosphere. The orchard took my breath away. As we drove in, I knew immediately that this was a “perfect” orchard.

Orchard Notes
Location:
8251 Old Highway 169 at Lovers Lane, Jordan, MN, 55352
Hours: Open Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm. Weekends 9am – 6pm.
Picking: Click here for the 2014 apple picking schedule.

Emma Krumbee’s

Located on a frontage road just off of 169 in Belle Plaine, Emma Krumbee’s looks big and commercial from the road. Emma Krumbee’s big fall event is the Scarecrow Festival. Anyone can register to participate in creating unique scarecrows to win cash prizes.

This year, the Scarecrow Festival will be open daily from September 12 – October 30, 2015 from 10am-6pm. The Festival costs $5.50/pp plus tax for anyone who is three years and older.  There is also the option to just pick your own apples for the price of $15.95 per peck and enjoy the general store without participating in the festival.

However, if you bring any little ones with you, I can assure you that they will be lured by all the fun activities of the festival. And for that reason, I am going to label this orchard as All Inclusive–because of the entrance fee to the activities.

The Festival includes:

  • barrel train rides
  • waterpump duck races
  • rope maze
  • playground that includes a hill slide & tire horses
  • tractor trike paths
  • giant hay pile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not pictured

  • Play areas like the wooden pirate ship and monster truck
  • petting farm (with goats)
  • tile maze
  • live music
  • tractor ride through the orchard

Emma Krumbee’s has Pick-Your-Own apples. While we were there, Haralsons were available. Also you can pick your own raspberries. For $5, you can fill a pint or for $10, you can fill a quart.

They had a “market” in the Apple Orchard Barn with all kinds of fresh produce including different varieties of apples and other items:  jams, breads, candy, cookbooks, popcorn, knickknacks, etc.

We didn’t make it into the restaurant or the General Store to check out what they had available since my kids were melting down. From what we did experience in the hour we were there, I was glad for the variety of things to do and for the choice to pick your own apples without needing to go into the Festival. I didn’t like the commercial feeling of it or the steep price to go into the festival.

I am glad we experienced Emma Krumbee’s Apple Orchard.  I don’t know if we will make the 56 mile trip in future years, but it was fun.

Orchard Notes
Location:
351 Enterprise Drive E., Belle Plaine, 56011
Hours: Open daily 10am – 6pm.
Picking: Click here for a chart of what should be ripe in the orchard. When in doubt, call the hotline at 952-873-3654.

Applewood Orchard

Applewood

This little haven is one of the few places to pick-your-own apples in Dakota County. To read more about the orchard in detail, try this outing review here.

Orchard Notes
Location:
22702 Hamburg Ave, Lakeville, 55044
Hours: Open daily 10am-6pm during apple season.
Picking: Click here for the apple-picking chart. Raspberries are also available for $4 per pint, be sure to call 952-985-5425 before coming out.
Special Events: Applewood Orchard’s 10-acre corn maze will be open September 12-November 1, daily 10am-6pm. Cost is $7/pp ages 16+ and $5/pp ages 6-15. Weekend hayrides are available for a small fee.


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