Thursday, September 11, 2014

Minnesota apple orchards open for picking

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Minnesota apple growers are reporting orchards full of big, high quality apples for fall family fun. Orchards are open for picking across the state with many ripe varieties on the trees.

Charlie Johnson, President of the Minnesota Apple Growers Association, said the 2014 crop will be good for growers and consumers, despite the especially harsh winter, “Many varieties will be as big, or bigger than last year. The harsh winter weather has affected some varieties, in some orchards, but most producers have come through the winter with an excellent crop!”

Minnesota is known for flavorful apple varieties specifically bred to thrive in our climate. This includes University of Minnesota cultivars such as the Zestar!, Honeycrisp, SweeTango, Haralson and Sweet Sixteen.

Most growers report varieties are ripening slightly later than typical, due to the late spring. Because there are so many delicious apple varieties to choose from, and seasonality depends on weather, please call your orchard to determine what is ripe and ready for picking.

Minnesota Grown Spokesman, Paul Hugunin, said a trip to an apple orchard is a fun activity for families, “Apple orchards provide many ways to engage families and children of all ages. It’s a wonderful way to introduce kids to how delicious fresh picked produce can taste! Many orchards also offer fresh apple cider, pumpkins, fall raspberries and fun fall activities like hay rides, crop mazes and petting zoos.”

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture’s Minnesota Grown Directory is a free statewide guide to more than 100 apple orchards. The directory also includes a comprehensive list of fall raspberry patches, corn mazes, wineries and more. You can search the directory online at or order your FREE printed copy by calling 1-888-TOURISM.