Located near Stillwater, near the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Aamodt’s Apple Farm has been owned by the Admodt family since 1948. The farm’s first apple trees were actually planted by Thor and Lucille Aamodt on the land that was carefully selected for purchasing. Today the farm covers 50 acres that are home to over 6,000 apple trees.
Over the years, Aamodt’s Apple Farm has become a successful fourth-generation family business that is a popular yearly fall destination in Minnesota for apple lovers of all ages.
Family history often comes in the form of stories that are retold and passed down to future generations. Over the years, some stories become legends. The story of Aamodt’s Apple Farm is one such story.
In 1948, Thor Aamodt, a University of Minnesota professor, decided that an apple farm would be his retirement project. His wife, Lucile, was unaware of her husband’s idea for the farm until one day, during a snowstorm, he brought her to their newly acquired property and revealed his plan for his retirement years.
Location, Location, Location
Thor knew the first step for making his dream a reality was finding just the right spot to create an orchard. It was in the town of Stillwater, now a suburb in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, where he found that location — a parcel of land that had the soil and climate conditions needed for growing apple trees.
Once they purchased the land, it was time to plant and cultivate apple seedling trees. Even Thor and Lucile’s young son, Tom, helped lay the foundation for the family apple farm. Clearly, apples got into his blood, because later it would be Tom who expanded the farm to the 50 acres it now spans.
Today Tom and JoAnn Aamodt’s son, Chris, and his wife, Billi Jo, run Aamodt’s Apple Farm. The family business legacy continues with Chris and Billi Jo’s six children also being involved with their great-grandparents’ farm.
Aamodt’s Apple Farm Apples
The apples at Aamodt’s Apple Farm fall into four categories: Summer Apples, Fall Apples, Winter Apples, and CrabApples. Their website posts the harvest schedule page for each variety within the categories so that visitors know when their favorites are ready for picking. The page also provides the best recommended use for each apple variety for maximum enjoyment of the fruit.
Winter apple varieties are Pazazz, Keepsake, Regent, Haralson, Connell Red Fireside (a naturally occuring mutation of Fireside), and Fireside.
For those who enjoy crab apples, there are three varieties available at Aamod’s Apple Farm — Chestnut Crab, Whitney Crab, and Dolgo Crab.
All the apples are available for u-pick, Monday through Friday, during the apple harvest season.
While picking apples from the more than 6,000 trees is enjoyable all on its own, Aamodt’s Apple Farm clearly knows what families with young children like. There’s the Honeycrisp Express barrel train ride, wagon rides, and even a small goat farm to delight the little ones. This makes Aadmodt’s a great family destination for a day of fall fun.
Adults will enjoy the fact that Aamodt’s has an on-site winery, St. Croix Vineyards. Established in 1992, the winery is owned by Paul Quast, Peter Hemstad, and Chris Aamodt. Visitors can taste and purchase St. Croix’s award-winning wines and attend special events held at the winery.
For history buffs, there is a barn and granary from the 1880s still standing on the property that guests can visit.
Events and Activities
Aadmot’s Apple Farm has hosted school tours and bus groups for educational guided farm tours. Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, these have been cancelled until further notice. You can check the website’s page for updates on the tours as circumstances and policies change.
The farm does still allow special events such as birthday parties or corporate events to be scheduled and held on the grounds. Anyone interested in contacting the farm to set up an event can reach them
An Aamodt’s Apple Farm Shopping Trip
It goes without saying that you can buy apples at Aamodt’s Apple Farm. But the deliciousness doesn’t stop there because the Aamodts know that food makes people happy!
Available baked goods include the apple pies, apple donuts, and apple cookies that customers have been enjoying for years. Other food temptations are “Chris’ Apple Brats” (with chopped Honey Crisp apple in the toppings), original apple brats and hot dogs, and a wonderfully piquant Honey Crisp apple salsa.
Of course, it should come as no surprise that Aamodt’s Apple Farm presses their own apple cider made with apples from their orchards. Visitors to the farm can enjoy cider hot or cold or they can purchase cider in half-gallon or gallon quantities to take home to enjoy. The website mentions a scrumptious “Cozy Apple Cider” flavored with caramel and whipped cream that sounds like a must-try this fall!
If all of this sounds amazing, but you can’t make it to the farm itself, Aamodt’s Apple Farm products can be ordered online.
Beyond the Farm — Thor’s Hard Cider
As mentioned earlier, the great-grandchildren of Thor and Lucile make up the fourth generation of Aamodts involved in the family apple business. Two, in particular, have branched out in contemporary fashion. Brothers Andreas and Christopher Aamodt are the master brewers of Thor’s Hard Cider — named in honor of the original patriarch of the farm.
The inspiration for Thor’s Hard Cider struck when Christopher came up with the idea of making hard cider as a way to use apples normally going to waste at the end of apple season. After years of home experimentation and research, he was ready to put his plan into action.
Made with an Italian yeast that the Aamodt brothers selected after trying nearly 40 different kinds, Thor’s Hard Cider is made with a mix of apple varieties including Minnesota Honey Crisp, Haralson, McIntosh (and others). It’s made using as few steps as possible to create a unique product in the hard cider market. Gluten-free, preservative-free, with no added sugars or concentrates, the hard cider is pressed and brewed at Aamodt’s Apple Farm.
Thor’s Hard Cider has done more than just find a good use for apples that no longer go to waste — it has created new energy within the family business. Some of Christopher’s other siblings, as well as his parents, spend time at the farm (often, daily) helping out with the hard cider production.
One Final Detail Worth Mentioning
There’s just one more thing that stands out about Aamodt’s Apple Farm. They welcome leashed, well-behaved dogs and their well-behaved owners who make sure to pick up after their canine friends. The only place off-limits to dogs is inside the buildings (service dogs, of course, are the exception).
Being dog-friendly makes Aamodt’s Apple Farm the ultimate family destination to include on your list of fall activities this year!
When a Retirement Hobby Becomes a Legacy
Lucile Aamodt passed away in 1984. Less than five years later, Thor Aamodt passed away in 1989 at age 89. In 1999 Thor and Lucile’s son, Tom, passed away and, fifteen years later, his wife, JoAnn, also passed away. Today Chris Aamodt presides over Aamodt Apple Farm and watches as the family love of apples continues with his grandchildren.
At the time of Thor’s death, 41 years had passed since he surprised Lucile with a trip to the farmland he’d selected for an apple farm to keep him busy in retirement. It’s unlikely he could have foreseen that it would grow into a successful apple farm and eventually became a family legacy that continues strong into its fourth generation.
Where To Find Aamodt’s Apple Farm
If you’ve never made a trip to Aamodt’s Apple Farm to experience the autumn apple season, we hope this article has inspired you to put it on your Fall Bucket List this year!
Address: 6428 Manning Avenue, Stillwater, MN 55082
Phone: (651) 439-3127
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/aamodtsapplefarm/