Hands down our familyâ€™s favorite fall activity is making the rounds of local orchards and pumpkin patches. If this autumn winds up as warm as last yearâ€™s, weâ€™ll have abundant weekends to harvest, though damage to apple crops this past spring might affect the supply of some of our favored varieties. We took a breather from the State Fair last Saturday to check on the welfare of the Zestar crop at Afton Apple Orchard.
Turns out we were premature for Zestar-picking, so the kids took to the fall raspberry rows instead. Monitoring what makes it into their pint containers versus what goes in their mouths is nearly impossible! Who can blame them for wanting to sneak a sample or two? Afton charges a reasonable admission fee to, in their words, â€śdefray the cost of destructionâ€ť by the public. I’m guessing thatÂ probably covers tempted toddlers.
Admission also includes access to hayrides into the orchard, a pretty cool playground, petting farm, and a retread hill (which, in case youâ€™ve never heard of one, is a mountain of tires to scale; Aftonâ€™s has tunnels running through it).
So we didnâ€™t come home with a peck â€“ or even a pound â€“ of apples from AftonÂ last weekend, but you can be sure weâ€™re still having fun ushering in the season.
For the Files: Afton Apple Orchard is located at 14421 So. 90th St., Hastings, MN 55033 (map it).Â Admission is $3/ages 5+ and $2/ages 4 & under. Call ahead for apple availability! Prices run $1.50 – $1.80 per lb. (apples) & $3.95 per pint (raspberries). Most orchard activities are included in the admission price; the 15-acre corn maze (opens Sept. 15) charges an additional fee. *Check the Minnesota Grown directory for more great local farms and orchards!*