The leaves are turning vibrant shades of gold, red and orange in Minnesota signaling to many families that its time to head out the apple orchards for their annual apple picking adventures. This was my first time going with my family and I am definitely going to make it a yearly tradition.
We went to Deardorff Orchards and Vineyards in Waconia. The drive out to this western suburb was breath-taking. It is just 30 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis. There are rolling hills, trees of every color and a quiet peace that is unexpected so close to a major city. The scenery alone is worth the drive!
I had my almost two year old in tow and discovered that my dreams of sipping their award winning wine while strolling through the orchard was not going to happen. My sister had two of her kids along and while they are very well behaved, it was not the relaxing afternoon I had envisioned. It was a comedy of errors trying to keep my daughter by my side as I paid for my bag inside the rustic barn filled with all kinds of crafts, gifts and goodies. I mean who can be expected to stand still when caramel apples dipped in candy are within reach! We made it out of the barn to load onto the tractor pulled wagon to get our ride out to the trees.
Here is when I learned my next lesson- come early in the season or bring a picker. I am on the shorter side, ok, I am very short, and of course the kids are even shorter. People that have come before us have pretty much picked all the prime apples that are anywhere within our reach. We still got full bags of apples but they were really cute, small apples. They actually are perfect size for my daughter and she was happy to sample a few while we walked.
My third lesson was to watch your step. Many fallen or discarded apples, while looking festive, led to a few tumbles. Luckily no injuries or tears! I would recommend good walking shoes or boots for this activity which apparently everyone had thought of except me.
We headed back to with our bulging bags of apples and were treated to live music in the shady picnic area. Overall, it was a perfect afternoon! For only $13, we had a wagon ride, a bag of apples, live music and some priceless memories. Maybe I'll even get to taste the wine next year.