Honeycrisps & Pine Tree Apple Orchard

Each fall an entire drawer in my refrigerator is dedicated to storing Honeycrisp apples. If you’ve ever had one, then you might know why they are my favorite. It’s a round, light apple, and when you take a bite, the piece will pop off right into your mouth with a snap. The taste is a balance between sweet and tart, and it’s even better when it’s so juicy it runs down your chin. (I advise to always eat a Honeycrisp with a paper towel close at hand.)

The Honeycrisp is one of more than a dozen apples that were bred in the labs at the University of Minnesota. It ripens in late September, so get ready to head to the grocery store and stock up. Better yet, head to a Minnesota apple orchard and pick your very own fresh.

Photo courtesy of
the University of Minnesota

One orchard you might want to check out is Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake. Though it’s only 20 minutes northeast of Minneapolis, it feels like you’ve escaped even further from the concrete walls of the city. Especially if you go when the leaves are changing color, the drive along winding Highway 96 provides a picturesque fall setting. It’s a bit of a bummer that you can’t pick your own apples, but you can still choose to purchase from their 25 varieties, including Honeycrisps.

As soon as you step into the barn with the baked goods, you will feel your sweet tooth ache with a longing for one of the fresh baked items. Apple donuts, apple rollovers, apple pie, apple cider, fresh honey, and caramel apples—the list goes on and on. A tasting room menu allows you to sample all the goodies without having to commit to buying a whole item.

Starting Sept. 28 you can pick your own pumpkins. Workers will transport pumpkins to the parking area so you won’t have to fumble with it down the hill. Then take a scenic wagon ride around the orchard, find your way out of the corn maze, go on a pony ride and take a family photo in the e-photo booth. On select days, live music plays in the background as you explore the orchard and its golden fall colors.

Want to know more about Honeycrisp apples?

  • They originated from the Keepsake apple, MN447, Northern Spy and an unknown.
  • Since the Honeycrisp was introduced in 1991, more than three million trees have been planted.
  • The apple is grown around the world and known in Europe as the Honeycrunch apple.
  • It has an amazing storage life and can keep up to seven months at 37 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The apple was selected as one of the top 25 innovations in over a decade in the 2006 Better World Report by the Association of University Technology Managers, which honors developments in academic research and technology that have made the world a better place.

Other University of Minnesota apples include the Beacon, Centennial Crabapple, State Fair, Zestar!, SweeTango, Chestnut Crabapple, Red Baron, Sweet Sixteen, Honeygold, Haralson, Frostbite, Regent, Snowsweet, Fireside/Connell Red, Keepsake, and Prairie Spy.

Pine Tree Apple Orchard
450 Apple Orchard Road
White Bear Lake, MN 55110
651-429-7202 pinetreeappleorchard.com