The mornings have a crispness in the air that signals fall is quickly approaching. What better way to celebrate the new season than visiting some local apple orchards?
There are several in the area that offer different varieties of apples, produce and other goods, as well as entertainment.
Pine Tree Apple Orchard
Pine Tree Apple Orchard is located near Pine Tree Lake in Dellwood. The first apple trees were planted in 1904. Art and Dickey Jacobson purchased the orchard in 1958. The orchard is located at 450 Apple Orchard Road.
The large orchard spans more than 300 acres. In 1963, the Jacobsons purchased an additional orchard in Preston. The orchard is currently growing 25 varieties of apples. A full list can be found on the website at pinetreeappleorchard.com.
During the summer, pick-your-own strawberries is offered.
Starting in September, Pine Tree Apple Orchard offers a variety of entertainment, including pony rides, wagon rides, a corn maze and pick-your-own pumpkins. In addition to apples, there are bakery products, fresh cider, gifts and more on offer.
The salesroom building is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
Recipe from pinetreeappleorchard.com
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tgranulated sugar
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/3 tsp baking soda
3 T butter, melted
1/4 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk
1 cup apples, peeled and grated
1. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and nutmeg in mixing bowl.
2. In a separate bowl, mix baking soda, egg, butter, vanilla, and milk.
3. Combine both mixtures stirring only until blended. Fold in grated apple.
4. Bake on hot, lightly greased griddle.
5. When batter is full of holes, turn to brown on other side. Turn pancakes only once while cooking.
The recipe makes seven 8-inch pancakes.
Applecrest Orchard is located at 7306 24th Ave. N. in Lino Lakes, on Hugo’s western border. It was founded in 1983 with the intent to grow the finest apples, and orchard proprietors have worked with the University of Minnesota to create the best-tasting kinds. Right now, the orchard has about 1,200 trees that produce varieties such as Honeycrisp, Honeygold, Haralson and Regent.
The orchard is open Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and on weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Apples and some other goods and produce from Applecrest Orchards are also sold at the White Bear Lake farmers market on Fridays and the Shoreview farmers market on Tuesdays.
Applecrest Pink Applesauce
Recipe from applecrestfarms.com:
1 1/4 pounds red apples (about four Honeycrisp, Haralson or Regent) unpeeled, cored and quartered
2 T water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
Place apples, water and lemon juice in saucepan. Cover, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until apples are soft (about 15 to 20 minutes). Pass apple mixture through a food mill fitted with a medium disk. Applesauce will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to one week.
A food mill separates the apples from their peels but allows the rosy color of the skins to remain.
Aamondt’s Apple Farm
Aamodt’s Apple Farm is located at 6428 Manning Ave. N. in Stillwater. Founded by Thor and Lucille Aamodt, it has been family owned since 1948. The orchard is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Aamodt’s does offer pick-your-own apples for in-season apples. They also have a large barn where visitors may purchase homemade goods as well as gifts.
Traditionally, Aamdot’s has offered a variety of fun outdoor family activities, but some activities may be on hold this year due to COVID-19. It’s best to check the website, aadmodtsapplefarm.com, before your visit.
Aamodt’s Apple Farm also offers its very own Thor’s Hard Cider, named after its founder. The alcoholic beverage is made from fresh-pressed, full-strength, locally grown apples with no preservatives. The whole process happens at the orchard and the apples are all grown, harvested, pressed and brewed at Aamodt’s Apple Farm.
The drink is available for purchase by the glass or bottle in several different varieties. It is also sold at The Velveteen, Cozzie’s Tavern and Grill, Mad Capper and Whitey’s Bar.
Aamodt’s is located next to Saint Croix Vineyards, so orchard guests may also stroll through the vineyards and enjoy wine tasting.
Victoria Valley Orchard
Victoria Valley Orchard is located at 4304 Victoria Street N. in Shoreview. It has been serving the Twin Cities area with fresh, local produce since 1966, when it was opened by Don and Molly Papenheim.
The orchard offers 21 varieties of apples, as well as unpasteurized honey, pumpkins, frozen apple pies and frozen apple crisps.
While the orchard does not offer pick-your-own apples, guests are invited to walk through the rows and rows of apple trees.
The orchard opens for the season on Sept. 9. The orchard is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. More information can be found at victoriavalleyorchard.com.
Sunnybrook Apple Orchard
Sunnybrook Apple Orchard is a newer orchard founded in 2016. Orchard proprietors harvested their first crop of apples in 2018 and the orchard has plans to expand over time. It is located at 9085 Jeffrey Boulevard North in Stillwater.
The orchard is open from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Zestar and Sweet Tango apples are currently available; toward the end of September, Honeycrisp apples will also be for sale.
The orchard also offers pumpkins, squash and gourds. While the orchard is open to guests, this fall the Sunnybrook Apple Orchard is offering online ordering with pickup at the orchard. To order online or find out more, visit sunnybrookappleorchard.com.
— Compiled by Contributing Writer Brooke Wohlrabe