For a list of orchards spanning the four corners of the Twin Cities metro area, visit our FFTC Guide to Twin Cities Apple Orchards.
TWIN CITIES SOUTH METRO APPLE ORCHARDS
Whistling Well Farm | Hastings
This is a quaint orchard that welcomes you to enjoy farm life. Named for the whistling well on their property, Whistling Well Farm is run by Charlie and Carol Johnson — and sons Chad and Neal. With no entrance fee, you are welcome to roam around the farm at your leisure.
Whistling Well Farm has all the basic amenities of a typical orchard: gift barn, food barn, and animals. They have a donkey and a goat. While the animals didn’t do much when we were there, they were still fun for the kids to see.
Whistling Well Farm is maintained with the help of a springer spaniel named Emmy. In fact, she has her own picture book for sale (written by Charlie). They also sell small stuffed replicas of her.
But the best part of Whistling Well Farms? The chickens! I can guarantee that your children will spend the rest of your visit in the chicken coop coaxing the non-hungry chickens into eating more corn from their hands. I must admit, it was lots of fun to have the chickens actually eat out of your hands! Or, if your children have no interest in actually feeding the chickens, they may take corn kernel by corn kernel out of the cob and make a pile of feed for the chickens.
For its unique farm experience, I recommend Whistling Well Farm. It is worth the drive.
Open: Picking season begins around Labor Day, check their website or call to confirm.
Hours: Daily, 9am-6pm
Cost: Free admission and limited children’s activities
Picking & details: Stop by the farm and pick up some apples, visit with the goats and chickens, and make a wish at the whistling well with all donations going to local charities. The orchard’s Apple Festival runs the first three weekends in October.
Fischer’s Croix Farm Orchard | Hastings
Hours: Tues-Sun, 9:30am-5pm
Cost: Free admission, fees for additional activities
Picking & details: Enjoy the fall season at this pretty orchard on the St. Croix River. Pick-your-own apples and pumpkins and, for more family fun, take a tractor pulled wagon ride to the corn maze ($3/ticket, weekends only) mid-September to October. Straw Mountain and the Apple Express are popular with kids and all ages will enjoy a visit to the barnyard. The Food Wagon is open on weekends, from late September through late October. Catch the Annual Apple Festival with fun family activities running the first two weekends of October.
Sponsel’s Minnesota Harvest | Jordan
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
- Apple Launcher
- face painting
- 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.
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 current apple picking schedule.
Emma Krumbee’s | Belle Plaine
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. There is also the option to just pick your own apples 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 & tractor rides
- waterpump duck races
- rope & tile mazes
- playground that includes a hill slide, tire horses, and a pirate ship
- tractor trike paths
- giant hay pile
- petting farm (with goats)
Emma Krumbee’s has Pick-Your-Own apples. While we were there, Haralsons were available. Also you can pick your own raspberries.
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 admission price.
Hours: Open daily starting Aug 22, 2019, 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 | Lakeville
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.
Hours: Open daily 10am-6pm during apple season.
Picking: Click here for the apple-picking chart. Raspberries and pumpkins are also available; be sure to call 952-985-5425 before coming out.
More activities: Applewood Orchard’s 10-acre corn maze will be open daily starting mid-September, 10am-6pm. Weekend hayrides are available for a small fee.