Sekapp Orchard in Rochester, Minn., has been in business since 1962. Since then, it has not only become a fixture at local farmers’ markets, but is also a top location to visit every autumn thanks to its annual fall festivities.
Read on to learn about this Minnesota orchard that should be on your list of “must visit” places during the different harvest seasons.
Getting Its Start
Sekapp Orchard has a long history, during which it changed hands many times. It got started on its current journey just after World War II, when the owner at the time, Ben Dunn, began teaching returning G.I. soldiers about agriculture. Working with the University of Minnesota, he shared his knowledge about horticulture and even helped develop new varieties like the Virginia Crab.
Dunn continued to develop the orchard and add new apple varieties until his wife sold it to the Kappauf family in 1962. Though the Kappaufs were new to the world of orchard management, they learned everything they could. More than 50 years later, their hard work continues to pay off with their work in and around Rochester.
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What’s Grown at Sekapp Orchards
Apples are the main name of the game at Sekapp Orchards, but you will find plenty of other fruits and veggies as well. The family regularly attends local farm markets, where you can find them selling fresh apples, honey, pumpkins, asparagus, mums, and much more.
Like any farm, the offerings at Sekapp Orchard vary significantly throughout the year. In the spring and early summer, you will find them growing asparagus, rhubarb, and raspberries. Late summer brings beets, cabbage, cantaloupe, cucumbers, gourds, onions, peppers, plums, squash, zucchini, sweet corn, tomatoes, and watermelon.
In the autumn, it is time for pears, apples, pumpkins, and the ever-popular mums. You can find the owners selling their goods at farmers’ markets in and around Rochester as well as on the farm.
For a family that started out not knowing much about apples, the Kappaufs have expanded their knowledge. When they first started out, they joined the Minnesota Apple Growers’ Association to educate themselves on apple growing and keeping an orchard. Today, their apple orchard features more than 8,000 trees and more than 20 varieties!
More than 20 varieties of apple are grown at Sekapp Orchard. Some are well-known and popular, like Honeycrisp, Jonathan, and Cortland. But there are also many varieties grown here that visitors might not know at all, giving them the opportunity to try apples they have never experienced before.
Throughout the growing season (which runs from late August to October) you can find varieties like Connel Red, Duchess, Fireside, Keepsake, Prairie Spy, SweeTango, and many more. These are available for purchase wherever Sekapp Orchard visits local farmers’ markets. Alternatively, visitors are welcome to come and pick their own apples from Wednesday through Sunday starting in late August.
Like any good farm, Sekapp Orchard also features a farm store where visitors can buy delicious homemade goods made from the freshest produce. Throughout the year, you will find goods like jams, jellies, preserves, local honey and maple syrup, fruit butters and signature barbecue sauce.
The honey is sourced from the beehives right at Sekapp Orchard. It is minimally processed and if you return more than once throughout the year, you will notice it changing in color! The orchard offers a variety of types, including honeycomb and crystallized honey.
In the fall, it is time to shop for gourds, pumpkins, mums, and apple cider. All of the goods are made right at Sekapp Orchard, so you know that they are as fresh as they can be!
Like many other apple orchards, Sekapp Orchard is the prime spot for fall fun. When the temperatures begin to cool, it’s time to visit the farm for some classic autumn activities, including apple picking, exploring a corn maze, and enjoying fresh treats from the store.
This is a perfect spot for family fun, since Sekapp Orchard caters to all ages. They design a new corn maze every year, so even if you return year after year you can bank on a new experience. Kids will love climbing the Straw Bail Mountain, exploring a straw maze, and taking Halloween pictures.
Of course, this is also the perfect chance to get your hands on some delicious food, including fresh apple cider. Visitors also enjoy picking their own apples and pumpkins and choosing an array of colorful gourds to bring home.
A Triumphant Test
When the Kappauf family bought Sekapp Orchard 50 years ago, they didn’t know much about running a farm — they just wanted a great place for their kids to grow up. But half a century later, it is clear that their experiment was a wild success.
Where to Find Sekapp Orchard
Sekapp Orchard is a place that you can’t miss if you are looking for an apple orchard in Minnesota to visit this fall, whether you want to pick your own apples or just visit the store. To plan your visit, we’ve provided the following contact information.
Address: 3415 Collegeview Rd E, Rochester, MN 55904