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What started in 1986 as a self-described “mom-and-pop” apple orchard has evolved into a popular weekend getaway for apple and pumpkin pickers. As long as the weather cooperates, pick-it-yourselfers can be found filling their bags with late-ripening apples like Cortlands and Honeygolds. McDougall’s annual apple festival is the first two weekends of October and features wagon rides, an observation tower, duck races and a kids’ play area.
WHISTLING WELL FARM
8973 St. Croix Trails S., Denmark Township; 651-998-0301; www.whistlingwellfarm.com
Whistling Well Farm, which first opened in 1980, has 20 varieties of apples developed at the University of Minnesota and shipped to local grocery stores, farmers markets and school cafeterias around the Twin Cities. “We’re a smaller orchard, but we have pick-your-own, and we have a little store where we sell jams and jellies,” said Charlie Johnson, the owner. Johnson said the store also sells squash and honey made by bees from Whistling Well’s bee yard. The 5,000-tree orchard’s annual apple picking festival is held on the first two weekends of October and packed with family-friendly activities and music, Johnson said.
Pine Tree Apple Orchard
450 Apple Orchard Road, Dellwood; 651-429-7202; www.pinetreeappleorchard.com
Pine Tree Apple Orchard has grown from 25 acres to more than 300 acres today, with 25 varieties of apples – including late-bloomers like Firesides, Golden Delicious’ and Honeygolds. Activities include pony and wagon rides, and a corn maze. An on-site store sells homemade apple-themed products – caramel apples, cider, muffins and pies – to weary pickers.
Libor Jany • 651-925-5033 Twitter: @StribJany