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Sunrise River Farm: A Must-Visit Minnesota Farm

You know the saying, an apple a day keeps the doctor away? Well, at Sunrise River Farm, it is not quite the same. That’s because the owners of Sunrise River farm are both dentists!

Sunrise River Farm is the perfect fall day-trip getaway. Keep reading to learn all there is to know about this must-visit Minnesota Farm!

freshly harvested apples in baskets on the ground

The Stec Family

Sunrise River Farm is owned by Ed and Stephanie Stec, who are very unusual apple orchard owners because they are both practicing dentists. Both run successful dental practices in the Wyoming, MN area. 

So, how do two successful, and busy, dentists also run a successful apple orchard? Simple. They make it a family affair. The Stecs have five children (Matt, Tim, Andy, Tobias, and Hannah) who help them run and maintain the farm. Look out, too, for grandparents and in-laws. This really is a family business!

This successful farm had its humble beginnings in 2000, with only 8 acres of apple trees. A short five years later, the Stec family began selling apples to the public, which marked the beginning of the burgeoning business. They now have more than 4000 apple trees!

By 2010 they had built a 3000 square foot farm market where they house the market, market kitchen, and sorting equipment.

All About the Apples

Sunrise River Farm offers both U-Pick and pre-picked apples and has amazing varieties of apples available, from Zestar to Honey Crisp to Haralson. And each variety has its own unique appeal!

Apples in barrels.

Zestar has a sweet/tart taste and is great for baking and freezing.

Honey Crisp is a crisp and juicy apple, which is good for baking and freezing, but also for applesauce.

Sweet Sixteen has a finely textured flesh and bakes and freezes successfully.

Cortland has the quality of remaining whole when sliced, so it is perfect for pies.

Sweet Tango has the perfect balance between sweet and tangy balance and is best for eating fresh.

Fireside is a sweet apple and is best eaten fresh.

Haralson is a firm, tart apple, which is best for pies.

Chestnut Crab has a fine-grained, juicy flesh, which can also be used for pickling.

Picking season begins in early September and lasts through mid to late October. Not all apples ripen at the same time. Sunrise River has a handy Apple Ripening Calendar so that you can check when your favorite apple is prime for picking and eating.

Going into the orchards to pick your own apples is one of the most popular attractions at Sunrise River Farm. Buy a half or quarter bag from the market and then head into the orchard. You can also enjoy creating your own apple cider at their hand-crafted press. 

Sunrise River Farm offers educational tours, during which visitors will go for a wagon ride to explore the world of apple growing, apple picking, and the pollination of apple trees. Tours also include goodie bags suited to the participants!

Apples on a tree at Sunrise River Farm

More than Just Apples 

Sunrise River Farm hosts an annual craft fair, where there are a variety of vendors, each with their own attractions. You’ll find everything from jewelry to photographers, to home décor and home organizers among the vendors at the event. This event is one of the biggest and most enjoyed events at the farm. \

You are sure to find the perfect gifts for someone special, or to decorate your home!

Recently, Sunrise River has also added a greenhouse for visitors who are interested in plants and growing their own gardens. You can browse and buy from a selection of regular plants and herbs to more specialized plants, such as orchids and carnivorous ones!

apple cider

And There is Still More

Sunrise River Farm also has tons of activities for kids to enjoy when you visit the orchard. When there’s a special event going on, the petting zoo has a variety of animals, including pot-belly pigs and miniature donkeys, as well as horses, llamas, chickens, and turkeys.

There is also a fun playground where the kids can play. You can even enjoy a fun hayride around the farm to enjoy the fresh air in the apple orchards.

You can also plan your next birthday party at Sunrise River Farm. What better place to celebrate your birthday than Sunrise River, with a picnic and fun and games? Plus, each of your guests will leave with a treat bag.

hay ride

The Market

Be sure to stop by the Sunrise River Farm Market when you visit. You’ll find a range of tasty products to take home with you. In addition to the apples, there are various products that will complement your palette.

Look out for caramel apples, and honey that is harvested from the beehives on the farm, and choose from a variety of jams, jellies, maple syrup, and apple cider.

One section of the market sells a variety of flowers for personal bouquets and to decorate your home.  Choose some beautiful mums, amongst other varieties as the perfect gift for birthdays, or special occasions.

Visit Sunrise River Farm!

What makes Sunrise River Farm apple orchards special is the welcoming family feel and the variety of great attractions and activities. Underlining all of this is the chance to get close to nature and the very trees from which the apples come. Go apple picking. You never what treasures you may find!

Excited for more fall activity ideas? Keep discovering apple orchards in Minnesota!