Apple Harvest Time!

Check out local apple orchards for delicious fruit, baked goodies, and fun activities
Apples ripe for the picking

Photo Adobe/Hansenn

For deliciously juicy apples and a fun outing, visit a local orchard. Some orchards offer pick-your-own apples and others pick them and have them available for purchase in their store so make sure to check ahead, depending on what you’re looking for. Many orchards also offer activities such as hayrides, mazes, and more.

Local Apple Harvest Estimates

Whether you are a fan of the early apples or waiting for other varieties to ripen (check out the Minnesota Hardy varieties here), keep in mind the harvest estimates below. Call ahead to confirm what’s ripe for the picking or just go and enjoy whatever apples are available when you get there. You’re bound to have a delicious time. Even in a drought year, most of the orchards have some form of irrigation, so they should be only slightly impacted by the lack of moisture during the growing season.

First Kiss: Ready
Zestar: Ready
SweeTango: Ready
McIntosh: Ready
Sweet Sixteen: September 21
Cortland: September 21
Honeycrisp: September 28
Haralson: September 28
Honeygold: October 1
Red Fireside: October 10
Regent: October 12
Keepsake: October 12

Tip: If you refrigerate apples as soon as you bring them home, it will slow ripening and maintain flavor so they can keep from four to six weeks. Then you will be sure to have them on hand for a great variety of recipes.

Find an Orchard

Looking for a nearby orchard or want to plan a day trip? The Minnesota Department of Agriculture offers a searchable map on its Minnesota Grown website that makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. Here are highlights of some popular spots to visit.

Aamodt’s Apple Orchard
Apples available in the Apple Barn for purchase: Honeycrisp, SweeTango, First Kiss, Paula Red, Chestnut Crabs, and Dolgo Crabs. Pick-your-own hours when available.
Stop in the barn for a slice of fresh apple pie, unique foods, local honey, pure maple syrup, and gifts. Check out the goat farm and wagon rides.
Open 7 days a week for the 2023 apple season 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
6428 Manning Ave., Stillwater • 651-439-3127 •

Afton Apple Orchard
This is an over 250-acre orchard in the heart of the St. Croix Valley with pick-your-own Paula Red, Zestar, KinderKrisp, and McIntosh. First Kiss, Estival, SweeTango, and RiverBelle apples are available in their store. Activities include a playground, wagon rides, and more.
Orchard and retail store open daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The 15-acre corn maze opens September 23. Call for picking schedule and orchard updates.
14421 S 90th St., Hastings • 651-436-8385 •

Apple Jack Orchards
You can pick your own apples and there are various varieties available in the orchard store. Check the website for variety updates. The orchard features a gift shop, bakery, and café, and family-fun activities include farm animals, jumping pillows, apple cannons, low ropes course, and more.
4875 37th St. SE, Delano • 763-972-6673 •

LuceLine Orchard
On a sprawling 155-acre property, there are nearly 10,000 apple trees with seven locally grown apple varieties and a vineyard nestled on the Luce Line trail. Visitors can enjoy the apples, a pumpkin patch, a petting zoo, nature trail, hay mountain, and a tire tower for the kids, plus live music and more.
2755 Rose Ave., Watertown • 612-817-6229 •

Pine Tree Apple Orchard
Enjoy a corn maze, pick your own pumpkins, a large variety of apples that are available for purchase in the orchard store, homemade bakery treats, caramel apples, fresh cider, gifts, and more. Enjoy your treats on the patio or on a picnic table near the lake.
450 Apple Orchard Rd., White Bear Lake • 651-429-7202 •

Pleasant Valley Orchard
Located near Taylors Falls overlooking the St. Croix Valley, Pleasant Valley Orchard offers a fun fall experience for the whole family. In addition to your favorite Minnesota grown apples, (prepicked and ready for you), you will find pumpkins, gourmet foods, and gifts, plus hayrides and live music. Open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through October. Call for updates on apple varieties available and announcements.
17325 Pleasant Valley Road, Shafer • 651-257-9159 •

Enjoy Apples in Recipes

Apples are delicious in both savory and sweet dishes.

Apple Pancakes with Maple-Apple Sauce Recipe

It’s apple harvest time, so step up your breakfast with apples in the pancake mix plus a sweet apple maple sauce to top it all off

Caramel Apple Pie Bars Recipe

Apple crisp meets caramel apple pie in these treats. Plus, chew on apple fun facts, find a local orchard, and link to more recipes

Good Apples

Apples mix up great meals from dinner (Pork Fajitas with Apple-Cilantro Salsa) to dessert (Apple-Hazelnut Cheesecake Tart)

Mary Subialka is the editor of Real Food and Drinks magazines, covering the flavorful world of food, wine, and spirits. She rarely meets a chicken she doesn’t like, and hopes that her son, who used to eat beets and Indian food as a preschooler, will one day again think of real food as more than something you need to eat before dessert and be inspired by his younger brother, who is now into trying new foods.