Early season apple varieties like Zestar!®, SweeTango®, Sweet Sixteen, and McIntosh are now available for picking, while traditional Minnesota favorites like Honeycrisp, Haralson, Regent, and Honeygold will ripen throughout the month. Apple orchards are now open, with limited hours continuing into the end of November. Many local grocery stores and farmers markets will also carry Minnesota grown varieties throughout the fall.
Growers across the state are reporting good apple crops. Brad Moulton of Moulton’s Orchard & Vineyard in Rush City reported that weather has played a key role.
“The rains were perfect with no wind or hail storms. I’d say the weather was near perfect. It was consistently warm all summer and not extreme,” said Moulton. “The apples all look good! The Honeycrisp are looking super and will be ready in two weeks.”
According to Minnesota Grown’s Marketing Coordinator Danielle Daugaard, a visit to the apple orchard is about much more than just picking apples.
“A trip to the orchard is a great way to get the family outside together and help the kids understand how their food grows,” Daugaard said. “Apple orchards are a family-fun destination with pumpkins, squash, corn mazes, wagon rides, and petting zoos.”
Rick Julian of Lake Ida Apple Farm in Lake Park shares that families visit his farm several times throughout the season to pick apples as varieties ripen. Four varieties of apples are already available at his orchard and he is looking forward to an exceptional crop of Haralred and Haralson.
Weather conditions can vary throughout Minnesota and orchard owners recommend calling or checking websites in advance to verify hours and to check availability of particular apple varieties.
The Minnesota Grown Directory is available in print and online, and are great resources for finding local apple orchards or farmers markets. The 2018 Directory includes 111 apple farms. Free, printed copies of the Directory may be ordered online or by calling 1-888-TOURISM (1-888-868-7476).
David Van Amber, MDA Communications