Apple Jack Orchards – an Autumn Adventure

Photo of sign stating "American as Apple Pie"

That's what Apple Jack Orchards is!

Apple Jack Orchards is less a “u-pick” apple farm and more a destination spot.  In autumn it is the place for friends and family to enjoy apples, pumpkins and family fun.   I adventured there last week at my companion’s suggestion.

Exiting out of the cities and into farm country was a scenic ride on a crisp, sunny day.  As we crested a final hill it was obvious that we had arrived.  Below was a picturesque valley with a barn on the left side of the road, parking and pumpkin patch at right, and rows and rows of apple trees surrounding.  The place was buzzing with hundreds of people who got there before us – families, couples and the occasional “worker bee” picking up fresh bakery items or ingredients for their evening meal.

Visiting an apple farm requires only two things – comfortable shoes and an appreciation for simple pleasures.  The barn houses the Old Barn Gift Shop, Apple Market and Apple Pantry Café and Bakery.  As I entered the scents of fresh apples, pumpkin pie and cinnamon gently perfumed the air.

Outside were the playground, animal pens and pony rides.  Across the street were the pumpkin patch, “cow train”, hay rides, and donut shanty.  I especially enjoyed watching families group together for picture-taking and helping a young lad how to figure out how to feed corn to a turkey without getting pecked.

Photo of turkey in pen

"Hey Buddy! I could grab that treat if you put it on the end of a stick!"

Being divorced and fabulous, I snapped some photos to share.  My companion and I also sat and chatted while having a leisurely sip and bite in the café.  Having no children of our own in tow, we walked the grounds and stopped to observe other people’s kids involved in the different activities.  My big find for the day was a jar of apple butter to use in a favorite harvest recipe (baked Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing and Apple Butter).  I’ll be making it soon.

I have been fortunate to have always lived in an apple-growing state and enjoyed them.  There is something nourishing about an apple farm that is always the same.  Perhaps it is child-like wonderment that I can’t help feeling. Maybe it is the delicious smells that remind me of home.  I can’t put my finger on exactly what that one special thing is, but I appreciate that Apple Jack Orchards gave it to me once again.

Photo of a Scenic View at Apple Jacks

A view of the river behind Apple Jacks

Thanks to my companion, too, for suggesting a great new place for me to blog about!

My eatery adventure for this week was right at home.  I was served the absolute best breakfast burrito I have ever had!  Thanks so much, Justin and Andy.  Your recipe is great – keep up the good work!

Do you have an apple orchard memory that you’d like to share?  How about an apple recipe?  I’d love to hear from you if you do!

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5 responses

  1. on Saturday Carol and I headed to Lanesboro (SE MN) and wandered through the Amish farm country. Spectacular scenery – hard to believe that you are in MN. Plenty of apple orchards and vineyards (not like Napa) to experience. Got some apples at the local farmers market – and an assortment of jellies.
    It is a day trip as Lanesboro is about 2 hours from west Bloomington – well worth it.
    Straight down 52 to Fountain and take a left on 8 …………….
    Headed back on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River – crossed over back from the land of the CheeseHeads at Wabasha.
    In Wabasha we landed at the Triangle Pub – a nondescript eatery hidden amongst some older buildings near the riverfront – we found it looking for another place.
    The food was better then anything I have eaten in the Cities and the service met every expectation and beyond. Traditional English pub food in MN done right – when I say done right – English recipes – not English cooks !! A self described soup Nazi from IOWA makes the best clam chowder I have ever eaten – and I have gone on chowders tours while in NE. I made a lot of chowder when I had my catering service and even had some guest chefs stop in and trow some chowder together. But what I was served was heaven in a bowl. Simply amazing ………..had two servings. Oink, oink !!
    And the Irish Stew was equally amazing. Their cheese and apple platter compliments the soups, stews and chowders. Maybe holds 25 folks or so.
    It is a destination point when on a road trip.

  2. Sounds like you had a great time in the orchard and surrounding area. Some of my greatest childhood memories are around the apple orchard on my grandparents farm in northern Minnesota where most people wouldn’t expect apricots, plums and apples to grow. We were fortunate to have a neighbor who helped my grandfather plant it when I was a little girl so I was able to enjoy the “fruits” of their labor. We made apple pies every fall to freeze and eat during the winter. It was worth the labor come Feb/March. The joys of being a child! My favorite Fall meal was Pork Chops and fried potatoes after spening the day raking and burning leaves. Miss the smell and the fires blazing in the coulees of home.
    Not any new venues for me this week. Just re-visiting Famous Dave’s music and the VFW where I introduced my son to the characters who frequent the place. It has the feel of being “Up North” so I go there when I think I miss “the lake house” and the days spent there.
    Guess I’ll go buy some apples of the region.

  3. My Mom’s apple specialty was her apple butter. She made two kinds – spiced and regular – and the spiced apple butter was my favorite. She hasn’t made it for years, but I’m trying to convince her to make more. It is way good – yum!

    I love when adventures in novelty tug at beautiful childhood memories!

    As for Famous Dave’s, you’re near the Uptown location, and they seem to always have bands going. Therefore, almost every visit there is new!

    Yes, get some local apples, and thanks for sharing lovely memories with us!

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