With autumn on the horizon, orchards open for fall festivities

by STAFF REPORTS

It’s a midwestern tradition that’s alive and well in the west metro.

As the air cools and summer fades, apple orchards come alive with visitors, cider making and hay rides. The wide open spaces of the west metro boast a number of locations for apple pickers. Read on for your guide to apple activities this fall.

Dumas Apple House:
Tucked into the trees on the side of Wayzata Boulevard is a gem of the Long Lake area.
Dumas Apple House has been providing the community with a variety of apples since 1925.

All of the 20-plus varieties of apples offered at the Dumas Apple House are handpicked by professional pickers out in the orchard located near the apple house. Because of this, Dumas Apple House does not allow visitors to go out and pick their own apples.

The apple house reopened for the season on Sept.. 1 and is currently offering seven different types of late-summer and early-fall apples for sale.

Dumas Apple House is located in Long Lake at 3025 W. Wayzata Blvd.

For more information about Dumas Apple House and various recipes to use with your apples visit the apple house’s website at www.dumasapplehouse.com.

Deardorff Orchards:
A winding dirt road leads through the hills and forests of Waconia’s rural area before ending at Deardorff Orchards near Parley Lake. The orchard, which has been in business for 35 years, sits on 120 acres and is home to over 4,000 apple trees.

There are a variety of activities and treats for the whole family at Deardorff, including apple picking, hayrides and a barn full of apple-based pies, jellies and donuts. Deardorff hosts a number of events throughout the fall season, including Apple Pick’n Days and comedy shows in their historic apple barn, built in 1888.

“We specialize in the original honeycrisp,” Owner Lin Deardorff said. “There are lots of clones out there in the marketplace but we’re one of the only places you can come pick the original honeycrisp for yourself.”

And if you’d rather drink fruit than eat it, there’s an extra special section just for adults attached to the apple barn as well. Parley Lake Winery’s tasting room is right around the corner from the main barn shopping area and is open for tastings year round.

The orchard was named to USA Today’s top 10 apple orchards in the United States in 2015 and was named one of Martha Stewart’s family farms worth traveling for.

The wine tasting is open to adults over the age of 21, but the whole family is welcome on the Deardorff Orchards grounds. For more information, visit deardorfforchards.com.

Minnetonka Orchards:
This 40-acre orchard has been a part of the west metro for over 40 years. Minnetonka Orchards in Minnetrista is a great spot for people who are looking to grab a bite, bring the family or go for a hike on the trails that lead through the forested areas on the orchard.

“There’s really no place in the orchard people can’t go,” Owner Lowell Schapper said.

The orchard is dog and family friendly, with a petting zoo, hayrides and plenty to eat on site. Minnetonka Orchards has a donut house, where they serve homemade apple cider donuts, a caramel apple house as well as a brat house where visitors can grab a quick lunch of hamburgers, hot dogs or an apple cider brat. Just beside the eateries is the barn, where visitors can do a little shopping on fall-themed items, many of which are made in Minnesota.

Minnetonka Orchards also serves as a wedding venue through the summer and fall. The site hosts a barn, outdoor wedding ceremony site and a large tent for wedding receptions. Orchard Manager Kelly Delisle said that while the orchard is busy with weddings all season, the orchard remains open to the public even if a wedding is happening on the other side of the property.

For more information on admissions, hours and location of Minnetonka Orchards, visit minnetonkaorchards.com.

LuceLine Orchards:
Just outside of Watertown sits a 155 acre apple orchard, petting zoo, corn maze and vineyard. The LuceLine Orchard is a family operation, owned by Rich and Terri (Traen) Pawelk.

The Pawelk’s bought the property along the Luce Line Trail in 2004, though they have had their eyes on for almost as long as they can remember.

In September 2012, they officially opened as Luce Line Orchard. They credit their friends and family, saying it wouldn’t have been possible without them. Terri said family is the most important and their favorite thing in life. Now, they have eight different types of apples including Honeycrisp, Sweetango and Zestar. They also have pear and plum trees and grow four different types of grapes.

Each year the farm and the amount of activities it offers to the public increases. They have a corn sandbox, hayrides, a petting zoo, a pumpkin patch, an apple launcher, mini horse rides and a rolling-down-the-hill contest. Terri’s favorite part though is the nature trail, which has become a popular spot for engagements.

“We’re kind of shooting from the hip,” Rick Pawelk said. “We can’t wait to see what it morphs into.”
Visit lucelineorchard.com to get more information.