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Even on the sunniest of days, the air is starting to have a crispness to it. Soon we'll be swapping our ice-cold beverages for a warming mug of Minnesota-made cider. Yes, it's finally apple season.

And that means local apple orchards are opening their gates. Some go all out, offering hay rides, corn mazes, live music and other family-friendly activities. Others operate apple-focused bakeries — a feast of doughnuts, fritters, turnovers, pies and crisps — and many concentrate on general stores stocked with pre-picked apples, freshly pressed cider, caramel apples and other apple-related products. Then there are the purists, who stick strictly to the highly underrated fresh-air activity of apple picking.

These mostly U-pick orchards are within (roughly) a 90-minute drive from downtown Minneapolis. Some have already started welcoming apple enthusiasts, while others are opening soon. Be sure to do your research before visiting to confirm hours, services, availability and payment options.


Lee Peterson Tree Farm, 5968 149th Av. SE., 612-423-3441,

Belle Plaine

Cherith Farms, 27450 Raven Road, 507-665-5055,

Emma Krumbee's Apple Orchard, 311 Enterprise Drive E., 952-873-3006,


Deer Lake Orchard, 1903 SW. 10th St., 763-682-4284,

Woods' Edge Apples, 1901 NE. 50th St., Buffalo, 763-682-4409,


Apple Jack Orchards, 4875 SE. 37th St., 763-972-6673,

Apple Tree-O, 5667 SE. 90th St., 763-390-7795,

Elko New Market

Thompsons' Hillcrest Orchard, 6271 E. 250th St., 952-461-2055,


Trumps Orchard, 1020 St. Paul Av., 507-334-5167,


Afton Apple, 14421 90th St. S., 651-436-8385,

Croix Farm Orchard, 12971 St. Croix Trail S., 651-437-7126,

Whistling Well Farm, 8973 St. Croix Trail S., 651-998-0301,


Applecrest Orchards, 7306 24th Av. N., 651-583-5209,


Minnesota Harvest, 8251 Old Hwy. 169 Blvd., 952-492-2785,

Lake City

Pepin Heights, 1775 Hwy. 61 S., 651-345-2305,


Applewood Orchard, 22702 Hamburg Av., 952-985-5425,

Maple Lake

Organic Breezy Hill, 3944 Iresfield Av. NW.,


Minnetonka Orchards, 6530 County Road 26,


Montgomery Orchard, 15953 Hwy. 99, 952-221-1051,


Fall Harvest Orchard, 345 County Road 30 SE., 763-972-3894,


Fireside Orchard and Gardens, 2225 Lonsdale Blvd. E., 507-663-1376,

Silkey Gardens, 5561 SE. 115th St., 651-357-5092,


Northwoods Orchard, 8018 75th Av. NW.,


J.Q. Fruit Farm & Orchard, 8082 33rd St., 763-389-2567,

Red Wing

Frontenac Hills Orchard, 30202 Frontenac Hills Way, 651-212-1768


Apples R Us Orchard, 3856 NE. 65th St., 507-269-2140,

Sekapp Orchard, 3415 Collegeview Road E., 507-282-4544,


Knapton's, 5695 Hwy. 55, 763-479-1184,

Rush City

Moulton's Orchard, 51513 Game Av., 320-248-0042,


Peter's Pumpkins & Carmen's Corn, 12860 Old Brick Yard Road, 952-906-0247,


Victoria Valley Orchard, 4304 N. Victoria St., 651-484-4500,

South Haven

Fairhaven Farm, 13835 51st Av., 320-236-7685,


Dew Fresh Produce, 404 375th Av. NE., 763-689-2282,

Jake's Apple Shack, 601 375th Av. NE., 763-689-2282,


Aamodt's Apple Farm, 6428 Manning Av., 651-439-3127,

Sunnybrook Apple Orchard, 9085 Jeffrey Blvd. N., 651-432-4866,


Deardorff Orchards, 8282 Parley Lake Road,


LuceLine Orchard, 2755 Rose Av., 612-817-6229,


Havlicek's Veseli Vrsek Orchard, 26526 Newport Av., 952-758-4386,

Nelson's Apple Farm, 3010 Douglas Av., 952-461-3355,

Sweetland Orchard, 26205 Fairlawn Av., 651-252-4337,, pre-bagged only

White Bear Lake

Pine Tree Orchard, 450 Apple Orchard Road, 651-439-7202,


Sunrise River Farm, 7602 Wyoming Trail, 651-462-8220,

Now that you have apples ...

Good, fresh-picked apples are good all on their own. But you'd be missing out if you didn't take the opportunity to use them in dishes both sweet and savory. Here's a start:

Chicken, Wild Rice and Apple-Pecan Salad

Serves 4.

"I like serving this salad in the fall when the leaves start changing. The combination of wild rice and apples always feels right for the season, and this is a handy salad for a light dinner or as a weekday lunch when you're working from home," writes author Stephanie Hansen in "True North Cabin Cookbook: Recipes and Stories From a North Woods Table" (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2022). You can also substitute leftover roasted chicken.

For the vinaigrette:

• 2 large cloves garlic, minced or grated

• 1/3 c. rice vinegar

• 1/4 c. toasted sesame oil

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

• 2 tbsp. soy sauce

• 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

• 1 tsp. orange zest

• 1 tbsp. fresh orange juice

• 1 tbsp. grated fresh ginger

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

• 1 tsp. black pepper

For the salad:

• 2 c. uncooked wild rice

• 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

• 1 tsp. salt

• 4 1/2 c. chicken stock

• 1/2 c. raw pecans

• 1 c. cubed Honeycrisp apple

• 2 ribs celery with leaves, chopped

• 1 c. chopped green onions, light green and white parts

• 1/2 c. chopped red onion

• 1/4 c. chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley


For the vinaigrette: Place cloves, rice vinegar, sesame oil, olive oil, soy sauce, mustard, orange zest, orange juice, ginger, salt and pepper in a Mason jar and shake until thoroughly combined.

For the salad: Place the wild rice in a saucepan. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on top of the rice. Add salt and stock to the pot and bring to a boil. (White scummy foam will collect on the surface of the stock; it's fine to leave it.) Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and let the chicken and rice cook for 15 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool. Continue cooking rice for another 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a dry cast iron skillet over medium heat until fragrant and brown. (The nuts will burn easily, so pay close attention.) Set aside.

Once chicken is cooled, cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Drain rice and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, toss apple cubes with vinaigrette. Add cubed chicken, rice, celery, green onions, red onion, parsley and toasted pecans. Toss again until all ingredients are well coated and serve.