Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard



What’s that old saying? An orchard a day keeps your paycheck away? Maybe that’s not right, but it’s definitely how my family goes through the Fall season. Broke as a joke and drowning in caramel-covered Honeycrisps. This year, I’ve been on the hunt for some new apple orchards, temporarily leaving my old go-tos by the wayside. Much to my surprise, Minnesota orchards are a-plenty and the quality of their kid-friendly activities has me enjoying this orchard-hunt more than I expected. Our first newbie orchard was Minnesota Harvest in Jordan and it was a doozy…in the best way. Wagon and kiddie tractor rides, a small petting zoo, two large Rainbow Play Systems, a sunflower maze, a duck pond, and an apple launcher are just a few of the reasons this orchard quickly surpassed my pre-faves. Oh, and did I mention the Apple Lodge sells their locally-crafted apple wine by the glass and serves a full brunch on weekends with live musical accompaniment by Cactus Willie? Why should the kids have all the fun? At Minnesota Harvest, the fun definitely goes both ways…without breaking the bank {sigh of relief}.

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

What is it?

Sorel’s Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard has been a family-run business for the past four decades and catering to you and your little family is obviously what they are going for here. While it has changed owners, the Sponsel’s still have a strong hand in the overall personality of the orchard. One of the previous owners, Topper Sponsel, found inspiration in developing a variety of apple types unique to this orchard. Before he died, Topper had created and labeled more than 20 new varieties of apples with clever monikers such as Plum Crabbie, Roxtar, Sugar Shack, Creme d’Licious and of course the Sponselli. The orchard grows more than 40,000 trees on 300 acres, hosts weddings and private events, serves hot food and cold apples in the Apple Lodge, and offers a plethora of children’s activities that will keep the whole family smiling for hours.

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

Fit for what ages?

It’s an apple orchard. Why should there be an age limit? There’s fresh air for the wee ones, plenty of space to run for the crazy ones, and enough activities to entertain everyone. My two and five-year olds were semi-obsessed with the sunflower maze and apple launcher (ok, let’s be honest – mostly with the apple launcher), and were ideal ages for the tractor train. The wagon ride out to the U-pick trees is short and sweet and the playground is fit for ages 3+. Not bringing kids? I stand by my “no age limit” statement, so grab your adult friends and hit up the Apple Lodge for some Donkey Butt coffee and/or something from the bar, enjoy a tasty brunch and do a little shopping in the quaint shops in the back hallway (if quilting, crafting, or antiquing is your thing.)

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

How much are we talkin?
Thankfully, the overall expense of a day here won’t break the bank (which is good because, though Fall may only be a couple months long, my family could probably fly to and from Disneyworld a dozen times with the jack we drop on U-pick apples).  Admission to the orchard is FREE on weekdays and only $2/person on weekends (under the age of three is free). Once inside, the only items I can think of that you would have to pay for are:

  • Apple Launcher (5 apples for $1)
  • U-pick apples ($20/11# bag)
  • Pony rides ($5/person)
  • Any food or drink from the Apple Lodge (reasonably priced, ie $5 for a hot dog meal; $1 for popcorn, etc.)
  • Face painting ($3-5)
  • Brunch (weekends only; $10/adult, $4/kids)

So, what’s free?

  • Sunflower Maze
  • Petting Zoo
  • Duck Pond
  • Wagon Ride
  • Playground equipment
  • Tractor Train

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

Want some tips?

Bringing cash will really simplify your day, especially since you pay for admission when you pull in and there are no credit card machines on the dirt road entrance.  While credit cards are accepted in the Apple Lodge, cash will make the activity purchases easier. Get there early to beat the crowds, although even busy times tend to not feel crowded, thanks to the amount of acreage. Bring quarters for goat and sheep food. And I suggest leaving your stroller at home, due to the bumpy ground. Oh, and bathrooms are located in the Apple Lodge.

Buy your 11# peck bag in the Apple Lodge and hop on the wagon for a ride through the orchard ($20 per peck). Apple varieties vary week-to-week, so check their website to see what is in season during the time of your visit.

The bakery really shouldn’t be missed with their cider donuts and apple turnovers. Or save $1 for a popcorn stop from the old-time popper in the Apple Lodge.  The greatest perk to having an indoor lodge? NO BEES! Caramel apples and cider, bee-free? Yes please.

Minnesota Harvest offers some cute seasonal events, including a Christmas Tour of Lights and a Visit with Santa. Check out their events page for dates and details.

While you are in Jordan, check out a couple of the other kid-friendly places I’ve written about, including Zap Arcade and Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store.

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

Sponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple OrchardSponsels Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard

Hours and Location

8251 Old Highway 169  |  Jordan, MN 55352
Monday – Friday   10 am – 5 pm
Saturdays – Sundays   9am – 6 pm

The orchard is open daily, but certain activities are only available on the weekends, including face painting and the apple wine bar. Brunch is served from 9am – 1pm on Saturdays and Sundays only. Many other activities are open daily.

The pick-your-own orchard is open seasonally, starting in August (with their Annual Appletennial Festival). Be sure to check their website for their opening and closing dates. The barn is open through the winter on weekends only

Follow Minnesota Harvest Apple Orchard on Facebook where they announce events and activities, new U-Pick apple selections, hours, bakery items, and renovation photos.

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