If you’re looking for a nature-filled activity for an autumn weekend, then look no further! Montgomery Orchard is the place for you. Minnesota is filled with amazing fall-themed destinations, but this one is a special one for sweater weather.
Keep reading to learn all about what makes Montgomery Orchard a place you should visit this apple season.
The Character of Montgomery Orchards
Owner of Montgomery Orchard, Scott Wardell, had a vision of an apple orchard. He planted the first section in 1999 and now has a business nearly six times as large, which expands every year.
Montgomery Orchard is not only about the apples, it’s about people and the outdoors. The Wardell family is very involved with the Conservation Reserve Program. Part of their commitment is to grow specific trees on the property. This gives the family the perfect opportunity to introduce their visitors to the best of the best in nature.
What to Expect
We’ve established that Montgomery Orchard is about more than just apples. It’s also about what can be done with the apples that are grown at the orchard. There are different varieties, of course, as well as apple cider and apple wine.
Montgomery Orchard grows twelve different varieties of apples. The favorites include:
Of course, what would an orchard in Minnesota be without the state apple? The Honeycrisp has long been loved as a fantastic eating apple, with its crisp texture and juicy taste.
If you want to bake the perfect apple pie, then these are the apples. The flesh is firm and the taste has a little tartness, which combines well when the apple is cooked.
State fair apples are perhaps not as perfect for pies, but they are a good cooking apple. The fruit is juicy and only slightly tart.
This apple is for those who have a sweet tooth. The Sweet Sixteen variety of apples adds a particularly complex and individual sweetness to baking. This is also one of the best apples to eat straight from the tree.
Apples in a salad may seem relatively unusual. Think of a Waldorf salad, though, with apples as a key ingredient. For a tasty salad, Cortland apples are the way to go.
Here you have an apple that presents a slightly nutty flavor in its white flesh. This makes it great for cooking and jam, as well as for eating fresh. They are also the source of a perfect cider.
Ciders and Wines
We know that apples make good cider, don’t we? But did you know that apples can also make an interesting wine?
Both options are available at Montgomery Orchard for you to taste. You will find your personal favorite from among those on offer.
Just some of the ciders you can enjoy are:
Prairie Harvest is made from a combination of Honeycrisp, Honeygold, and Cortland apples to produce a very carbonated, slightly sweet cider, that has just a hint of a honey flavor.
Maple Run is a sweet cider, flavored with maple syrup and is a truly smooth option to enjoy. Try it as an after-dinner sweet, perhaps with some ice cream on the side.
Cranberry Crush is a refreshing experience, made from apples and their natural paring, cranberries. It is a popular choice at any time of year.
Then there are some varieties of wine:
South Wind is an apple wine that will complement just about any meal, with its balanced semi-dryness and tart flavor.
The Woody is made from Honeycrisp and Haralson apples, with some Chestnut Crab added to give it a smooth feel.
And, of course, there has to be a blend:
Smokin’ Oak is a cider designed for wine drinkers. It is aged in oak barrels, in the tradition of winemaking, to create a rich experience for cider and wine drinkers alike.
What to Do
One of the most popular activities for visitors to Montgomery Orchard is to go into the orchards to pick their own apples. You can take the time to choose what apples may suit you by taking an orchard tour, during which you will really be able to appreciate the beauty of apples in the ‘wild’ (so to speak) and the extent of the business.
When the evening beckons and the vibe becomes relaxed, then you will be able to listen to live music, while sipping hard cider and wine.
Give your kids the chance to wear off some of the energy from eating apples by making their way to the center of the orchard’s corn maze and back again. Come to think of it, it’s good exercise for the whole family.
For perhaps some more straightforward physical activity, get closer to nature by taking a walk on one of the mowed paths and enjoying the wildflowers, trees, and wildlife.
What to Buy
When you go home from an apple orchard, it is expected that you will take apples home with you. These could be ones that you picked yourself or some pre-picked apples from the store.
That is where the options for take-home goodies begin. You can take your pick from apple jellies and jams. Then there are the salsas and baking mixes for a variety of pies and apple crisps.
Your visit will not be complete without a caramel apple dipped in delicious, homemade caramel.
An Orchard Experience Not to Be Missed
Montgomery Orchard is bigger even than the apples they grow so successfully. A visit will let you fill your hands, mouths, and minds. Learn about apples, eat apples, and see where they come from. It’s the recipe for a perfect visit to an apple orchard.
How to Find Montgomery Orchard
We hope we’ve inspired you to pay a visit to Montgomery Orchard. As you now know, it’s so much more than just an apple orchard!
Looking for more inspiration for fall activities? Keep discovering apple orchards in Minnesota!