Gilby’s Orchard is not what you may expect. Oh, there are lots of apple trees and plenty of apples for sale, but there are also pumpkins and squashes — and a whole lot of activities for young and old alike. Not only is this an apple orchard, it’s an experience you’ll want to repeat year after year.
A Family Business
In 2004, David and Janet Gilbertson decided to retire from their hectic city life and move to Aitkin to open an apple orchard. The business began with 300 apple trees and now boasts more than 1000 trees, over 2 linear miles of pumpkins, and a nursery from which customers can order their own plants and fruit trees.
It has taken three generations to get Gilby’s Orchard to where it is now, so this really is a family business. In this spirit, the Gilbertsons open their orchard business to customers and their families who return year after year.
The Apples at Gilby’s Orchard
Every year, the apple orchards produce favorite varieties, including:
This is a hybrid apple, developed by the University of Minnesota. The apples are juicy, with a crisp texture and slightly tart taste.
This variety of apple is best enjoyed fresh in the fall. It has crisp flesh and is very juicy.
If you have ever enjoyed a Honey Crisp apple, then stand by for a new experience. The Pazazz variety is a descendent of the perennial favorite, but with its own unique sweet and tangy flavor.
More Than Just Apples
Imagine going to an apple orchard to find your perfect pumpkin… At Gilby’s Orchard, that’s exactly what you can do.
The Pumpkins You’ll Find at Gilby’s Orchard
Gilby’s has more than two linear miles of pumpkins — almost literally as far as the eye can see. And beyond. You can expect to see different varieties, including:
This variety grows vigorously and many are produced from one vine. The pumpkins are dark orange and have a characteristically round shape. These are the pumpkins from which some of the best jack o’ lanterns are made.
The large handle of a Kratos pumpkin makes it easy to carry around and can add a jaunty angle to the lid of a Jack o’ lantern. The pumpkins are weighty and their flat round shape makes them sit squat on the ground.
This variety of pumpkin is attractive, with its round shape and rich orange color. These are large pumpkins and are consistent in their size.
The Gladiator variety produces round, deep orange fruit with fairly smooth skin. The handles are strong and make the pumpkins easy to carry.
Look no further than the Mystic Plus pumpkin to make the best pumpkin pies. The relatively flattened fruit offers plenty of sweet flesh for the tastiest bake.
The Warty Goblin variety of pumpkin produces the most interesting fruit, with a light orange base color that is covered by green warts. This is one of the most interesting-looking pumpkins and can produce Jack o’ lanterns that have real character.
The Squash at Gilby’s
If it is more than pumpkins you are after, then you can choose from a few varieties of squash, including:
These squashes are straight and relatively smooth. Their medium size makes them easy to pick and pack. It also means you can use only a few at a time, if you are cooking for only one or two.
This variety of squash produces oval gold-orange fruits with green stripes. The flesh is sweet and the squashes keep well, although they can be cooked straight after harvesting.
The fruits of the Primavera variety of squash are quite uniformly oval in shape and yellow in color. They are relatively small and can be enjoyed with other food quite easily.
Don’t think the fun at Gilby’s ends with apples and pumpkins. There are a number of activities to keep your whole family busy for a whole day of fun.
When the season has been good, you can venture into the orchards to pick apples, or buy pre-picked apples from the store. Alternatively, take your time and follow the trails through the pumpkin patch, as you search for the perfect specimen.
The kids will love getting lost in the corn maze and then finding their own way out. Then they can blow off some steam in the hay bale playground, or take part in a scavenger hunt.
What You Can Buy From Gilby’s Orchard
Gilby’s Orchard aims to let you go home with your hands full, not only of apples, pumpkins and squash, but a whole lot of other goodies.
Annie B’s popcorn is a gourmet experience of a long-time family favorite snack. To keep your family sweet and healthy, Gilby’s Raw Organic Honey is a great choice. You can also take home some maple syrup to add to your breakfast pancakes.
For your convenience, or if you forgot to take something home with you, Gilby’s Orchard has a shop online, where you can order your own fruit plants and trees, so that you can have the glory of apples and other fruit in your own yard.
The Place For Your Fall Apples, Pumpkins, and More
Gilby’s Orchard — Aitkin Apple Orchard will entice you with its tasty and varied apples, and then keep you captive with the variety of goodies and activities you can take part in. A visit to the pumpkin patch will give you the perfect pumpkin to take home and make pumpkin pie, or a Jack ‘o lantern — or both.
In the fall, Gilby’s is the place to be!
Where to Find Gilby’s Orchard
Hopefully all this talk of apples and pumpkins and autumn treats has you planning a trip to Gilby’s Orchard this fall. To help you find them, we’ve provided the following contact information:
Address: 30069 State Hwy., 210, Aitkin, MN 56431
Phone: (218) 670-0561