Alaska is known for many different things, depending on who you ask. To some, it’s a barren wasteland of ice and snow. To others, it’s one of the most scenic and beautiful states in the country, offering sights and sounds that you can’t see anywhere else.
Regardless of what you think of Alaska or what it means to you, there are very few people who think of apples when they hear Alaska mentioned. Believe it or not, however, growing apples is more common than you might think. If you’re in the market for some of these Alaskan delights, this article will look at the best apple orchards in Alaska.
Best Varieties to Grow in Alaska Apple Orchards
The key to growing your own apples in Alaska is finding apple varieties that are hardy and can withstand cold weather. Your window for growing apples in Alaska is very small, so it’s important to maximize it. However, choosing the right varieties is the best way to ensure you have one of the most successful apple orchards in Alaska.
Here are some of the best apple options:
- Fireside Apple Trees
- Ginger Gold Apple Trees
- Zestar! Apple Trees
- Cox Orange Pippin Apple Trees
- Yellow Transparent Apple Trees
- Espeliar Edible Grafted Apple Trees
As these are the best apples to grow, they’re also the apples you’re likely to find at local apple orchards in Alaska. Growing apples in Alaska takes a ton of time, work, and patience. It can take trees up to five years to start producing a fruitful harvest. At the same time, it only takes several good frosts to knock an apple tree out of commission for good.
Best Apple Orchards in Alaska
Now that you know what types of apples to expect at an orchard in Alaska let’s look at who the top growers are in the state.
Fire Apple Orchard
We’ll start our apple orchard journey in Wasilla, Alaska, at one of the northernmost apple orchards in Alaska. Fire Apple Orchard is a top seller of several fruit varieties, but they’re best known for their apples. They’re also the only apple orchard in Alaska that grows and sells the coveted Orange Pippin, one of the tastiest varieties out there.
At Fire Apple Orchard, you have the option of picking your own apples or buying them in the store on site. One of the neat things that set this orchard apart from the competition is the fact that they have grafting classes every spring for those looking to start their own orchard. Their goal isn’t just to sell apples. It’s to make apples more relevant in Alaska.
Make sure to call before you go to Fire Apple Orchard, as they’re only open seasonally, and their hours vary. If orange pippin apples aren’t your thing, they also grow 57 other apple varieties and a dozen different types of cherries.
All About Apples
All About Apples is also located in Wasilla, Alaska, and is the leading competitor for Fire Apple Orchard. However, like Fire Apple, All About Apples cares about more than how much money they make in a year. Their goal is to teach and educate shoppers on how to grow and care for apple trees if they want to grow their own.
However, if you’re not looking to start your own orchard and simply want some of the best apples in the state, All About Apples has you covered. They grow and sell more than 120 different apple varieties that you can use for raw eating, sauces, juice, cider, cooking, and more. They also have enough apples on hand that they sell to many local markets and stores throughout the state.
All About Apples has been led by horticultural expert and owner Dan Elliot for a quarter of a century. He’s one of the most experienced and knowledgeable growers in the state and loves sharing his knowledge with others. His apples are certified organic and arguably the best in Matanuska Valley and the state at large.
Just miles east of Wasilla in the small town of Palmer, you’ll find a 20-acre farm known as Arctic Organics. This farm houses one of the best small apple orchards in Alaska and is run by Sarah and River Bean. Together, this husband and wife team has run the farm for nearly 35 years, and they have no plans of stopping.
While apples aren’t the only thing that’s grown at Arctic Organics, it’s one of the top crops. The Bean’s grow eight different varieties, including the Yellow Transparent apple listed above. In addition to selling apples individually and by the bushel, Arctic Organics also sells entire apple trees that you can plant around your home.
As seems to be the theme with apple orchards in Alaska, Arctic Organics goes out of its way to help the local community. They supply over 125 families with important fruits and vegetables and love educating shoppers about how to grow their own plants.
O’Brien Garden and Trees
If you find yourself down south of Anchorage on the Kenai Peninsula, make sure to check out O’Brien Garden and Trees for some of the best apples in the state. O’Brien Garden and Trees is located in Kenai, Alaska, and offers much more than just apples to hungry shoppers.
They offer a variety of fruit trees and bushes that are tested for at least three growing seasons to ensure they’re hardy enough to survive. You then have the option of purchasing entire trees and bushes or buying fruits individually. If you don’t have time to make it all the way down to the home orchard, you can also find their fruit at various farmer’s markets in both Kenai and Soldotna.
Gold Nugget Farms
Let’s move a little further north to the northernmost of the apple orchards in Alaska. Gold Nugget Farms is located in Fairbanks, which is the largest town in central Alaska and the northernmost major stop in the state. Unlike other orchards in the state, Gold Nugget Farms is an agricultural co-op where you have the option of planting your own crops alongside theirs.
Gold Nugget Farms also offers a you-pick option where you can pick as many apples and other fruits and vegetables as you want. Each of the apple trees planted at Gold Nugget Farms is guaranteed to be fully organic and sustainably grown.
Clark’s Apple Orchard
If you want to visit one of the oldest and most successful apple orchards in Alaska, you should check out Clark’s Apple Orchard. The original orchard was opened way back in 1960, but it’s certainly come a long way since then. It’s currently run by Randy Clark, son of the original owner and apple growing extraordinaire.
In addition to the wide variety of fruits that Clark’s offers, they have some of the best prices in the state. All of their fruit costs $2 per pound, save for several cherry varieties that cost $4 or $5 per pound. Clark’s is also happy to boast that all 20 of their apple varieties are 100% organic.
Clark’s is a you-pick orchard where you’ll have to pick your own apples. However, it’s because of this policy that they can offer such competitive prices. If you ask nicely, Clark’s will even be happy to give you some of their favorite recipes and offer advice on how to grow your own apple trees.
Boyer’s Orchard and Greenhouse
Also located in Anchorage, you’ll find another one of the best apple orchards in Alaska. Boyer’s Orchard and Greenhouse is a unique combination of an orchard, greenhouse, and educational center. They put just as much emphasis on telling you how to grow and care for your plants as they do in growing and selling their own.
Although the original owner of the orchard, Bob Boyer, recently passed away, his legacy lives on through the Friends of Boyer’s Orchard Foundation. The FBOF is a group of people that are dedicated to maintaining and promoting the 1-acre farm known as Boyer’s Orchard and Greenhouse.
Together, they grow hundreds of different fruits, vegetables, and apple varieties.
Alaska Apple Farms
We’ll round out our list with one of the newest and best apple orchards in Alaska. With a name like Alaska Apple Farms, you better believe that this is a top orchard. It’s family-owned and operated and consists of just over five acres of farmland. Like many of the other apple orchards in Alaska, this farm sells its apples by the pound.
Unlike the competition, Alaska Apple Farms is creative with how they sell their apples. They offer the Alaskan Tuff Apple Package, which includes three different apple varieties. You have the option of buying apples individually or an entire tree that you can take home and plant for yourself.
Alaska Apple Farms is located in southeastern Alaska near the British Columbia border. It’s the only orchard on this list that’s south of Juneau, and it’s also located along the coast of the Gulf of Alaska, making it one of the most scenic and beautiful apple orchards in Alaska.
Visit one of the Best Apple Orchards in Alaska!
While apples certainly aren’t the top product in the Last Frontier, there are a number of decent apple orchards in Alaska. By knowing where to find these orchards, you can enjoy some of the best and freshest apples available. You might even be able to buy apple seeds and potentially start your own apple orchard!
Excited for more apple content? Visit my apple trees page to learn more about apple planting, growing, harvesting, cooking, and more!