8350 Parley Lake Rd., Waconia, MN. www.deardorfforchards.com
Free. Free parking (along gravel road). Stroller accessible. Restrooms (porta-potties) available. Some foods available in apple store.
Fall in Minnesota wouldn’t be complete without a trip to an orchard to find some home-grown Honeycrisp apples. Our orchard of choice this year was Deardorff Orchards, between Waconia and Victoria, Minnesota. We arrived on a crisp September morning and parked along the road, then walked onto the farm site that is home to the orchard. We played on the hay pile and saw a few farm animals, then boarded a flatbed, tractor-pulled wagon to pick our own apples.
When we visited Deardorff two years ago, I had three children, ages 4, 2, and 1, and I was nervous enough about the flatbed ride that we didn’t go to the pick-your-own area. With the kids a little older, though, and the staff being willing to help me lift the stroller onto the cart (and me locking the wheels), I gave it a try, being sure we were sitting in the middle of the trailer. The tractor deposited us in the orchard after describing where we could find various varieties of apples. We picked some apples and then returned to the farm, where we walked through the store. There, in refrigerators, were additional pre-picked apples, as well as pumpkins, jams and jellies, doughnuts, and other goods. We paid for our apples and made our way back to the car. Deardorff also has special activities, including cider and hotdogs, at certain times, and they have wagons for pulling apples or kids, and the site is picturesque enough that it served as our Christmas card picture a few years ago. So, take the kids and your camera to Deardorff Orchards when you want some good, homegrown Minnesota apples!