What are you doing this weekend? Fall farm festivals!


Who’s got the biggest pumpkins?  Where can you pick the crispiest apples?  And who’s got the most family friendly corn mazes?  Well, how far do you want to drive?  After all, this is Minnesota, the land of open fields and farms and great fall festivals.  Minnesota ranks fifth among the top agricultural producing states and it boasts almost thirty different varieties of apples and  over 200 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds, give or take a few.  (Go here to see what John and Jenny Thull have done with a few acres of land and a lot of work!)  If you want to know what is in the state by county, go to pumpkinpatchesandmore.org.  Orchards are aplenty but in case you want a directory and map or two, try orangepippin.com and pickyourown.org

Fall festivals at local farms and orchards began in September.  Have you filled a bushel basket yet with local produce or enjoyed a hay ride in the country air?  A great place to get started is Bridgewater Produce Farm in Northfield.  Open weekends Saturdays and Sundays through October, they are open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Enjoy the farm setting as you wander through their fields among their 30 varieties of pumpkins, squash, and gourds.  Search for the perfect pumpkins for decoration or dining or choose from the pre-picked ones.  Take home some mums and add some color, drama, and beauty to your home décor.  Bring the kids and for $5.00 per person, explore and enjoy their corn-filled sandbox, corn maze, hay ride, barrel cart rides, corn box, straw tower, trike races, and more.  October 13 and 20 are Fall Festival Food Truck Saturdays.  See their website and Facebook pages for details, and don’t forget your camera.

Ripe red apples on an apple tree branchAnother great farm to check out is Barten Pumpkins in New Prague.  They are open through the end of October Wednesday through Sunday 9:00 am to 7:00 pm.  Check out their website for their Family Fun Saturdays October 6 and 13.  They offer free hay rides, face painting, a petting zoo, and more.  Then, check out their pumpkins.  Boy, do they have pumpkins—thousands of them, big and small and medium and tall.  They have pumpkins perfect for baking and those perfect for painting; those perfect for carving and those, well, perfectly ugly, and bumpy, and anything else but orange.  You pick or pick from the pre-picked ones.  If you think you have seen enough pumpkins for a while, then pick out some tasty squash for a great side dish or try one of their recipes.  In addition to edibles they have gourds and straw bales and corn shocks and broom corn, all ready for you to use to add a special something when decorating indoors or outdoors.

Lastly, a nice pick-your-own orchard not far from home is Applewood Orchard in Lakeville, open seven days a week from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm until late October.  They sell over 14 varieties of Minnesota apples developed through the University of Minnesota apple breeding program, including the popular Honeycrisp, Zestar and SweeTango.  See here for their picking schedule.  Enjoy the pedal tractors and hayrides, the apple cider and mini-donuts, and the many opportunities to photograph memories in the making, including the twists and turns of the giant spider corn maze.  Go here for more information.

Enjoy an apple outdoors right off the branch.  Get your hands dirty picking your own squash or pumpkin out of the farmer’s field.  This is fall; the fruit of the earth and the great outdoors are calling.

Photo Credit:  Franki_Emerson @pixabay.com and American Trails @pixabay.com