Who doesn’t love a sweet start to the new year? I’m a home-grown Minnesotan, and thusly, I LOVE apple season. I’ve put together (in no particular order) some of our great apple orchards and honey sellers in the state. Whether you’re a metropolitan family or folks living out in the sticks, I’ve got an orchard for you.
Yes, they have apples. But they also have pies-a specialty that not all orchards have. This orchard allows you and your family to wander through their tree groves and pick your own apples, over 25 varieties of them. This orchard is family owned and operated. Located in White Bear Lake, just north of the Twin Cities.
This popular West Metro orchard (not actually in Minnetonka, but Minnetrista) has a large variety that you can pick, but also Zestar, SweeTango and others in their retail barn. They also have excellent apple donuts, a new Caramel Apple House, a petting zoo, a corn maze and a hay mountain to climb.
Minnesota Harvest (Also known as Sponsels)
Their apples are plentiful but so is their cider. Minnesota Harvest is arguably the classic apple picking spot in the state. This orchard is south of the metro down in Jordan. They have a petting zoo for the little ones as well as pick-your-own apple orchards.
This Hastings orchard grows more than 13 varieties of apples and has their annual Apple Festival the first three weekends of October. There’s also a corn maze with 6 miles(!) of trails, plus they also sell frozen unbaked apple pies made from Minnesota-grown apples, frozen apple crisps, fresh honey, and more.
This little farm has some interesting activities: a tractor ride (dubbed the Honeycrisp Express), a treasure hunt, a goat farm, wagon rides, and an apple barn and bakery. Most of these family-fun activities are open Monday through Friday. They of course have open apple picking in the orchards as well as, surprisingly, wine tasting. Located in the picturesque Stillwater, they also sell baked goods and jams.
Apple picking and wine tasting and goat petting and sweet singing and food trucking all together in one? The creator of this genius concept must be a parent who understands that while the image we have in our head of such a family outing is picturesque, by the time you’ve reached your destination, you’re ready for a drink, a snack, and some relaxing tunes. The orchard has pick-your-own and rumor has it, the very best (frozen) apple pie in their retail store. Bonus: for the next two weekends, you can participate in their grape harvest for free (pre-registration required)!
While they have no pick-your-own apples there are lots of apples available. They have a corn pit (aka your kids getting corn stuck everywhere pit), wagon rides, ziplines, and 23 varieties of apples. Check them out in Delano.
Out of all of the orchards this may be one of the more well-known, even with lots of changes over the years. They have orchards to pick, a restaurant to visit, greenhouses to peruse and pick up flowers in, and pick-your-own raspberries. If memory serves me, they also have a corn maze, even though this is not advertised on their website. You can find Emma K’s in Belle Plaine.
While this amazing, glorious, and GIANT yellow barn sells apples, they are known for their sweets. I especially love their selection of maple syrup candies and honeycombs. Also, check out their pies made by sweet old ladies. It might be the most Minnesotan place on earth – visit this fall to grab any kind of treat you can think of.
If, for some wild reason, you want your very own apple tree for next Rosh Hashana (or anytime, really), the University of Minnesota sells SnowSweet, HoneyCrisp, and Zestar! Apples. Check out their page to learn more about growing a tree to feed you and the family.
For all of you city folk I present to you, Beez Kneez, a company that delivers honey by bicycle! Maybe you have a little old safta who can’t get out to get her own honey, don’t fret, just get it delivered. They also have several local varieties.
The Minnesota Honey Company
Located in Uptown this sweet little store sells all sorts of honey products from all over the state. I’m going to admit it- this is a one stop shop for me. I want everything. You should try it.
Super hipster honey: The Meat & Dairy Sale at the University of Minnesota
This place is underground. I mean it- the room is actually in a basement. They sell honey made by the U but mainly meat (lamb, beef, pork, sausage, etc) as well as amazing ice cream and cheese. If you live in the Twin Cities or even go to the U, check this place out if you want a lot of honey (or even honey flavored ice cream
There are several other Minnesota sourced honeys that I love – feel free to comment if you want to get in touch and talk about honey! Don’t see your very favorite apple orchard or honey supplier here? Comment or email us at edi[email protected] and let us know what we should add to our list.