Fall cannot officially commence for our family until we’ve taken a trip out to an apple orchard. The kids look forward to this tradition as soon as the State Fair wraps, school is back in session, and the weekends take on a twinge of crisp in the air. Having maintained for a many years an orchard directory of sorts for Family Fun Twin Cities, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on the crop of apple farms to choose from in the metro. And yet, every fall an orchard pops up on my radar that I hadn’t considered before. Deardorff Orchards in Waconia was this year’s new find.
Our visit had nothing to do with blogging or business, it was simply an afternoon meant to be spent with friends — picking apples, taking a tractor hayride, munching absolutely delicious wood-fired pizza on a picnic blanket, and in the kids’ case, building log shelters and throwing themselves heedlessly off hay bales.
The pickings weren’t as superior as we’ve found at other orchards in the west metro and be prepared to pay $20-$30 for your pecks, but we appreciated that there was no admission charge or nickel-and-diming for any of the simple activities. Our kids found plenty to do clambering on logs, getting up close to the horses, touring the orchard by tractor ride, and enjoying the fresh air.
Had we the time and/or inclination, there’s the onsite Parley Lake Winery, located adjacent to the classic white apple barn. Long after the last apples have fallen from the trees, the tasting room is still open Friday-Sunday until mid-December.
Find an orchard to visit this fall near you! For more ideas, check out our Top Fall Family Fun Guide.
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