Every year, we are on the quest to find a new apple orchard. This year we traveled south into Lakeville to Applewood Orchards. It was a trek, but it was worth it! We had a great time picking and eating apples and running through the corn maze.
While my children had a pretty good time running around the corn maze, I found myself slightly stressed out trying to read the map. I have once again learned that I am a hopeless trail map reader. I can read a road map without a problem, but put me on a trail or in a corn maze and I’m useless! But that is neither here nor there.
It was a beautifully sunny day with a slight breeze. We hopped in the van and made our way down to Applewood Orchard. The name itself evoked images of hometown goodness and maybe a little magic. We took Cedar Avenue past the Mall of America, through Eagan, by Apple Valley, and into Lakeville. On the south side of Lakeville, we turned onto a washboard, gravel road following the signs to Applewood Orchards.
I was already delighted as we bumped our way to the orchard because the road reminded me of the road on which I lived growing up in Morris. We bumped our way for a quarter mile and then turned headed toward the orchard’s parking spaces–the front yard of the Parranto family.
There was a corregated metal building set south and west of the orchards, raspberry bushes and cornfields. This building was headquarters to all the fun! You purchased your corn maze passes ($7/adult, $5/child ages 5-15, and free for those under 5), paid for your apples and berries and other orchard products (jams and jellies and applesauce), sampled the apples available for picking, waited in line for your apple cider mini-donuts, and collected your baskets for apple picking.
On the weekends for $1 per adult (kids are free with adult), you can hop on the haywagon and take a ride to your choice of apple trees or get off at the corn maze which is what we did first.
This is the third year of the Applewood Orchard Corn Maze. It’s designed on a 10 acre plot of corn field, and this year it is in the shape of T-Rex. Split into two different phases, you are armed with a map and a guide. Throughout the maze, you look for numbered signs. When you reach that number, you read a question from the guide. Each multiple choice option has a direction to go, and only by selecting the correct answer will you take the correct path. (Unless you are Gianna and you read the map incorrectly and think that the direction they tell you to go is wrong and make your children march around in circles trying to get out of the loops you insist they must walk-and by the end when you finally get out, your 7 year old is exclaiming how proud she is of you for learning to read the map.)
After we exited the maze, we collected our empty buckets and went in search of the coveted apples. Honeygold, Gala, Paula Red, and Chestnut Crab Apples were all ready to be harvested. We filled our buckets with Honeygold and then went in search for Sweet Tango. We never found the elusive apple because Sweet Tango was available as pre-picked, so instead we grabbed some Paula Reds and called it good. In the Orchard Headquarters, we picked up some Zestars and Sweet Tangos, paid for our picked apples, and purchased some yummy treats.
The kids played on the playground and jumped onto a pedal tractor in Farmville learning later that to play in Farmville, you needed to pay $2/child. We sat on the porch and enjoyed our doughnuts and carameled apples.
While Applewood Orchard was busy and had some very long lines, it wasn’t the busiest orchard I’ve been to. There were plenty of comfortable places to enjoy a snack. The orchards were bustling with people, but with so many trees, we enjoyed plenty of reachable apples. Everyone we encountered was pleasant and kind.
The orchard provided wagons for you to pull into the apple trees so that you could more easily haul your bounty out.
Applewood Orchard was a wonderful experience, and I highly recommend it. I’d say it’s one of the best Pick Your Own Apple Orchards in the Twin Cities.
22702 Hamburg Ave., Lakeville, MN
Open 10:00 am.-6:00 p.m. Monday-Sunday, during Apple Season
No Admission Fee
For purchases, they accept cash, credit, and check (I recommend taking cash)