October 26-27

To celebrate our tenth harvest, we’re closing our season out with a bang! On Saturday at 3:00, we’ll have the Great Northern Border dance troupe performing dances traditionally associated with English orcharding traditions. And then at 4:30, we’ll have intuitive psychic, Christine Schroeder, here to do ten-minute psychic readings until 7:30 ($10). Lastly, it’s a “cook your own sausage on the bonfire” night with your choice of an Odenthal’s brat, an Odenthal’s polish, or an Herbivorous Butcher apple brat. It’s a beautiful day to celebrate this year’s bountiful harvest and we hope you can join us!

Speaking of a bountiful harvest, the apples we have this weekend are kind of ridiculous, just in terms of the varieties we have available this weekend.

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  • Northwestern Greening: a classic choice for a baked apple

  • Haralson: Minnesotans’ longtime choice for pie and the apple of choice for tart apple lovers

  • Calville Blanc: new this year! A classic French culinary variety

  • Bonnie Best: a superlative pie apple

  • Snowsweet: a sweet apple released from the U of M

  • Regent: a pleasant sweet-tart apple

  • Sweet Sixteen: one of our favorites with a cherry popsicle flavor

  • Fireside: sweet with less acid

  • Winter Banana: new this year! An heirloom variety worth a try

  • Keepsake: a parent of Honeycrisp, you can definitely note the family resemblance — except this apple has higher sugar and better flavor

  • Golden Russet: so sweet and so delicious in cider

October 18-20

We have a busy weekend here at the orchard!

For the only time this season, we’re open on Friday for Kids Day. We have a lot of crafts perfect for elementary-aged kids including an apple turkey, a dried leaf wreath, and apple/peanut butter/mini marshmallow snack, and a scavenger hunt. New this year is a scavenger hunt for older kids too that will keep them occupied in the orchard for quite a while, we think. Kids: turn in your scavenger hunt sheets for a free cider donut!

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Later tonight we’ll fire up the wood-fired oven to start making some Heggies pizzas and we’ll be open late — ‘til 8:30.

Also tonight is something new to us: it’s a cider and snack food pairing event where we cover formal principles of pairing food with cider, and then match up each of our ciders to a snack food. I am really looking forward to having fun with folks on this one. Reserve your spot! The photos below aren’t necessarily the pairings. We hope you’ll be delightfully surprised!

And, of course, we have apples this week too!

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  • Haralson: a tart Minnesota classic

  • Airlie’s Red Flesh: a small tart apple that’s slightly bitter but . . .it’s got flesh streaked with pink!

  • Bonnie Best: a great pie apple that cooks up to a perfect flavor and texture.

  • Regent: crunchy and slightly tart. A good all-arounder.

  • Cortland: if you’re making sauce this weekend, this is the apple to get

  • Honeygold: an exceedingly pleasant apple with crunch, juice, and a delightful sweet-tart balance

  • Snowsweet: a U of M release that is on the sweeter side and is definitely a customer favorite

  • Prairie Spy: an excellent keeper, good for eating and pie, and one of the better-kept secrets of the U of M’s breeding program

  • Fireside: sweeter with less acid than other U of M apple varieties, it’s been a great season for this variety.

  • Macoun (not pictured): a member of the McIntosh family with white flesh and an intriguingly complex flavor

  • Ruby Jon (not pictured): a dark red version of the popular southern apple, the Jonathan. Delicious and beautiful.

October 12-13

Brrrr!!! And yet I’m glad to be in Minnesota instead of North Dakota today!

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We’e got a great apple line-up today as we start getting into some of the later-season varieties:

  • Haralson: a Minnesota classic. Crunchy and tart, a standby for pie and acid lovers.

  • Bonnie Best: a great pie apple that cooks up to the perfect texture.

  • Liberty: a tart apple from the McIntosh family that we use quite a bit for cider.

  • Ruby Jon: a member of the Jonathan family with an extra-dark skin that bleeds a bit into the flesh

  • Prairie Spy: a muted tartness and an incredibly dense texture make the Prairie Spy a favorite for long-term storage.

  • Regent: a U of M release that combines sweet, tart, and crunch.

  • Connell Red: a sibling of Fireside with the same flavor profile.

  • Fireside: another U of M release. Its low acidity prompts comparisons to pears.

  • Honeygold: what a pleasure this apple is. It’s juicy, crunchy, and sweet with just a hint of tart to it that keeps it interesting.

  • Snowball. Not an apple! More of a commentary on the weather.

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Our extra taste we have this week belongs to the Chisel Jersey, which is a cider variety. These apples were grown on second-year trees so we don’t have enough for you to take home, but please be sure to try a taste of this “spitter” and see why it’s a variety that’s great for making cider.

Next week we’ll be hosting a special day on Friday, October 17:

  • We’ll have our annual Kids Day from 10:00-4:00 with crafts for elementary schoolers and an orchard scavenger hunt for tweens. Kids get a free cider donut!

  • We’ll fire up the wood-fired oven for Heggies pizzas starting at 5:00.

  • And that night, we’ll host a cider and snack food pairing, which is a ticketed event (ticket link to come soon). Learn formal principles of cider pairing . . .but applied to snack food. Should be fun!

October 5-6 with the Good Vibes Trio

October greets us with chilly and soggy weather, but the barn is cozy — and will be extra cozy on Saturday evening with the Good Vibes Trio. The first of two sets begins at 7:00 with a $10 cover for adults and $5 for kids. Tonight’s menu includes your choice of a German brat (Odenthal’s), a Polish sausage (Odenthal’s); a German weiner (Odenthal’s) or a vegan apple brat (Herbivorous Butcher); with or without bun; sauerkraut; cucumber slices; and kettle chips ($8).

On to the apples for the weekend, and we have so many!

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From left to right in the photo above, this weekend apples include the following:

  • Haralson: a Minnesota classic with a tart crunch

  • Liberty: another tart apple from the McIntosh family

  • Bonnie Best: a beautifully-striped apple with a distinctly lavender color. An excellent culinary apple

  • Prairie Spy: the first of the season! A sleeper with a small but devoted core of aficionados.

  • Connell Red: also the first of the season! A lower acid apple that tastes perfectly mellow and sweet in this cooler weather.

  • Cortland: an apple with a lot going on in the flavor department. If sauce is in your future, pick up some of these apples.

  • Fireside: a U of M release that’s a gorgeous apple with a combination of striping and yellow, orange, and red blush. Same flavor profile as Connell Red since they’re sibling apple varieties.

  • Sweet Sixteen: we finally finished picking Sweet Sixteen after taking five different passes at the tree to achieve perfect ripeness. Ripeness matters so much with this variety: underripe and they’re sweet and hard; perfectly ripe and they have that amazing cherry popsicle flavor.

  • Honeygold: another first of the season! A perfectly pleasing apple with a sweet-tart crunch.

  • Honeycrisp: Minnesota’s new classic.

If you’re planning on doing any baking this week, I recommend a combination of two-thirds apples that cook up firm and and one-third that cook up saucy. For firm apples, look toward Haralson and Prairie Spy. For saucy apples, look no further than Cortland.

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As always, we have tastes of apple varieties that we don’t have enough of to sell but that we still want to share with you! Today, those varieties are two classics: Kingston Black and Ashmead’s Kernel. Kingston Black is renowned for being one of those very few cider apples that make a delicious single-variety cider. Ashmead’s Kernel is an English variety from the 1700’s that is good for eating, baking, and cider-making. Its claim to fame is superlative flavor. Come give them a try!

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And we have one more treat down here this weekend: it’s the release of our two new barrel-aged ice ciders. The first ice cider was aged in a new barrel made by Black Swan Cooperage here in Minnesota. The second ice cider was aged in a rye whiskey barrel from Far North Spirits in Hallock, Minnesota. A rainy day means a quiet day, so come try all three ice ciders next to the warmth of a fire. Yes — that sounds like a great way to spend part of a rainy Saturday!