From humble beginnings, the LuceLine Orchard in Watertown, Minnesota, has developed into a successful family-run business. They now boast 10,000 apple trees, 10 acres of pumpkins, and 4,500 grapevines! Starting out in 2004 with a passion for farming, a crop of pumpkins, and a mere 300 apple trees, Watertown’s finest apple orchard soon turned into the fulfillment of a life-long dream.
Keep reading to learn all about LuceLine Orchard!
The Pawelk Family’s Story
Rich Pawelk grew up farming close to the Luce Line Trail, west of Watertown. He fell in love with his wife Terri, a farm girl herself, while still in high Sshool. They went on to spend the first years of their marriage farming with Rich’s parents.
Eight years in, Rich, Terri, and their three children set out on a new adventure and settled close to the Luce Line Trail once again, this time in Plymouth.
Determined to get back to their farming roots, they slowly began the process of building their orchard. First came pumpkins, and later apples and grapes. Between 2004 and now, this hardworking team, together with various family and friends, developed LuceLine into a sprawling 155-acre commercial orchard.
Together with their children and children-in-law, Reed and Katie, Abby and Ryan, Paige and Matt, and various grandchildren and grandpets, LuceLine Orchard remains a family-run business with a whole lot of heart.
All About the Apples
While LuceLine Orchard might have started out small, their initial 300 apple trees soon grew to a thriving orchard of 10,000.
Sadly, a 2015 tornado took out nearly half of their trees. Not the type to be defeated, however, the Pawelk family replanted their crop, and they’re looking better than ever.
If you’re hunting for apple varieties, this Watertown apple orchard has plenty to offer. LuceLine sports no less than seven local apple varieties, including the Perfection apple, the Zestar, the SweeTango, the Honeycrisp, the Haralson, the Keepsake, the Sweet16, the Fireside, and the Snow Sweet. They harvest from September through to mid-October.
Their website details when their different apples become available for picking. It also has guidelines for visitors wanting to pick their own apples at LuceLine Orchard.
But Wait, There’s More!
They may be in the business of apples, but this determined family also grows four different types of grapes and a selection of pumpkins and squash, perfect for seasonal picking.
In addition to this, they produce honey from their own hives while their gorgeous bee population pollinates their trees. Maple syrup is available from tapped trees on the Luce Line Trail, too!
And, of course, wild sunflowers create the perfect backdrop for grabbing a candid Instagram snap.
Besides delicious produce, LuceLine Orchard also offers nature trails, live music events, and stargazing. For the spooky season, why not stop by and visit their pumpkin patch?
What You Can Buy at LuceLine Apple Orchard
A versatile kitchen provides guests with plenty of meal options, including burgers, hotdogs, brats, pork chops, corn dogs, French fries, and delicious apple slaw.
There’s a pub to sort out thirsty grown-ups, too. They’ll be happy to provide you with their signature sangria, apple cider, beer, wine, and or cocktails!
And here’s a pro tip. If you happen to find yourself at LuceLine Orchard, we suggest you try out their apple fritters. We have it on good authority that they’re the best in town – as voted by Twin Cities Live.
And while you’re visiting, don’t forget to inquire about their handmade holiday gift baskets.
For the Kids
Weekend entertainment is abundant for families at LuceLine Orchard! A 30-acre corn maze sets the scene for adventure, whether you choose to explore it on foot or embark on a hayride.
Kiddies can sign up for a chauffeured trip on the LuceLine train, play in the corn tent, or climb up LuceLine’s very own hay mountain. And that’s not all. There are also swings to play on an abundance of animals to visit!
Owen and Walter are twin fainting goats, Tommy and Todd are mini donkeys, Camryn and Carol are heifers, and Tango and Dottie are the resident sheep. There are also dogs, chickens, and calves that all love receiving company.
A Watertown Apple Orchard Gem
This atmosphere in itself makes the orchard worth a visit. Still, even that is amplified when you experience their excellent food, service, and entertainment and take in the beauty of their glorious apple trees. LuceLine Orchard is a highly recommended destination for family outings and is located a convenient 40-minute drive from the Twin Cities.
Excited to add more destinations to your must-visit fall list? Then keep discovering more Minnesota orchards!