Countdown to fall: 4 must-visit pumpkin patches and apple orchards
With summer slowly coming to an end, the anticipation for fall grows bigger each day. This is perfectly OK with me as the fast-approaching fall brings with it cooler weather, beautiful colors, football, my birthday, and one of my family’s favorite activities – visiting pumpkin patches and apple orchards.
The following are some of the area’s best farms to visit in the fall:
1. Northwoods Orchard
Located just minutes north of Rochester in the beautiful countryside of Oronoco, Northwoods Orchard offers a variety of activities including wagon rides, multiple corn mazes, and the Back Forty animal area, where you can meet a variety of friendly barnyard animals.
Northwoods also provides pick-your-own or pre-picked apples, as well as a large selection of pumpkins for fall carving. And don't forget to stop inside the store for fresh popcorn and my favorite, Northwood's mini donuts!
Open Sept. 5 – Late October
- Saturdays 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Sundays 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
2. Sekapp Orchard and Farms
Hidden away in the bluffs just east of town, Sekapp Orchard sits on more than 170 acres filled with more than 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables. In addition to their popular U-Pick apples and wagon rides, Sekapp’s Pumpkinland opens during the peak of the harvest season and offers a corn stalk maze, straw bale maze, pumpkin picking, children’s activities, and plenty of picturesque photo opportunities.
Open August thru October, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m., 7 days/week
3. Apple Ridge Orchard
Famous for their caramel apples, Apple Ridge Orchard in Mazeppa is also known for its pick-your-own apples, grapes and pumpkins. A short wagon ride takes you into the orchard for additional activities including a kids's corn maze, an alpaca petting area, as well as additional barnyard animals such as goats, sheep, chickens, and peacocks.
Open Aug. 22 – November, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., 7 days/week
4. Tweite’s Family Farm
Celebrating its 27th anniversary this year, Tweite’s Family Farm in Byron offers a plethora of family activities including an award-winning 22-acre fun park, a 12-acre corn maze, a pumpkin patch, wagon rides and much more. Some of the attractions at the fun park include a trike racing track, rope maze, agility park, game zone, playground equipment, and a giant sand box.
Be sure to come hungry, as its food court consists of caramel apples, fresh fudge, hot dogs, brats, chili, nachos, baked potatoes, popcorn, and much more.
Open Sept. 19 – Oct. 25
- Saturdays and Sundays 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.
- Wednesday and Thursday of MEA week (Oct. 14-15)
Bonus: Firefly Berries
Firefly Berries in northeast Rochester is a pick-your-own berry farm specializing in strawberries, raspberries, and Concord grapes. Although strawberry and raspberry season has come to an end, Concord grape season is right around the corner (mid/late September – hard frost). It’s recommended you call or check their website for availability prior to planning a visit.
Open June through October (hours change depending on in-season fruit and availability)
Map of the farms:
About Brian Olson: Born and raised in Rochester, Brian enjoys spending time with his wife, Emily, and their two children, Henry (1) and Finleigh (4), and their golden doodle rescue dog Duke (age unknown). When not playing Dad, Brian works as a marketer, enjoys traveling, and can’t seem to get off the roller coaster that comes with being an avid Minnesota sports fan. Twitter.