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