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Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard: A Must-Visit Minnesota Apple Orchard

What’s your favorite memory of going to an apple orchard as a kid? At Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard, you’ll find all that same magic so that you can share it with someone close to you. 

This Elko apple orchard has more than just apple picking. They’ve got activities, other produce, and even baked goods ready just for you. You can even order wholesale if you want more apples than one person can handle! 

Let’s take a stroll through Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard and see what makes them one of Minnesota’s best kept secrets. 

Three young children next to a basket of apples -- a visit to Thompsons' Hillcrest Orchard can be the start of a child's lifelong love of apples.

The Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard Story

Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard has the iconic story that marks the start of every great apple farm. This is a family affair that has planted the seeds, pun intended, of one of Minnesota’s most charming apple orchards.

Gene and Barb Thompson founded Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard in 1996. They started off strong by planting 200 apple trees on their new farm. Before they knew it, this farm had grown to over 1,800 trees. 

They weren’t alone in starting Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard. They moved it to the fustic community of Elko with their kids in the 90s. They’ve been helping them on the farm ever since.

Red apples in trees grow

This orchard has now grown to offer everything from a corn maze, to squashes and pumpkins, and even some homemade pie.

When they’re not tending their orchard, you can find the Thompsons at many of the farmers markets in the Elko area. 

More than Just an Orchard: Farmer’s Markets and Wholesale 

Part of being an orchard is getting out there and interacting with the community. One of the best ways that orchardists have for reaching a new audience is by participating in local farmers’ markets. Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard has jumped at the opportunity and is now part of 2 local farmers’ markets.

You can find this Elko apple orchard at Bloomington Farmers Market and Maple Grove Farmers Market. They sell apples, apple pies, jams, and jellies.

You can even call Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard ahead of time to have them set aside some of their goods for you. Now, that’s the level of service that you can only get from a family-run orchard!

Baskets of red apples at a market -- Thompsons' Hillcrest Orchard is a supplier of local farmers markets.

This Elko apple orchard has been continuing to grow and expand ever since it was founded in 1996. They have recently added a large-scale cooler that allows them to keep apples fresh like never before. They offer wholesale apple’s during and after November. They can also take wholesale orders before November.

Who wouldn’t want as many of the freshest apples in Minnesota as they could handle? 

Meet The Apples in this Elko Apple Orchard

We bet that all the talk of apples has got you wondering what cultivars you can find in this orchard? Well, you can find some real gems as well as some of the most popular varieties of apples at Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard. 

Here are the apples you can find at this orchard: 

  • Chestnut
  • Connel Red
  • Haralred 
  • Honeycrisp
  • Honeygold
  • Regent
  • SnowSweet
  • Sweet Sixteen
  • Sweet Tango
  • Zestar

The Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard website has an entire page dedicated to their apples and other produce. They keep this page regularly updated so you can see which apples are currently available for picking, being sold at the farmers market, and available for wholesale. 

Pumpkins, Jams, and Pies

Every apple orchard needs a little variety. This Elko apple orchard has more to offer than just delicious apples.

When fall rolls around, you can find all kinds of squashes and pumpkins at this orchard. Whether you’re looking to cook delicious fall time recipes or you want to get some high quality carving pumpkins for the family, this orchard has you covered.

Closeup of a jar of raspberry jam and fresh raspberries.  Raspberry jam is made and sold at Thompsons' Hillcrest Orchard.

They also sell apple pies and raspberry jam. These are freshly made and taste so much better than anything you could find in a big box store.

The next time you head to this Elko apple orchard, make sure to leave some room in your car to take home a few of these pies as well as some apples. 

What Can You Do at Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard 

There’s plenty to do at Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard. Of course, you’ll be able to enjoy some of the best apple picking in Minnesota, but there’s plenty of other activities at this orchard.

One of the best things this apple orchard offers is free samples of its apples. If you’re not sure which of the cultivars you’d like to pick, you can try a sample of any of their apples to get a better idea of what you’re looking for.

This apple orchard also offers a corn maze. You and the family can get lost in this maze and try and work your way out to the other side. This is a great way to burn off some energy after the drive to this orchard.

You’re also free to explore the grounds of this apple orchard. There are plenty of rustic sites that make for some great photography. This is an ideal location to get a new family picture that you can share with the people closest to you. 

Keeping a Tradition Alive in Minnesota 

Growing your own apples is a time-honored tradition in North America. The Thompsons are keeping this tradition alive at their apple orchard. When you stop by this orchard, you get more than just fresh apples. You can get a first-hand experience of how the tradition of being an orchardist is being kept alive today.

Why not make visiting Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard one of your new family traditions this fall? 

A baby boy with a basket of apples in an orchard.  A trip to Thompsons' Hillcrest Orchard could create a new generations of apple lovers.

Visit Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard!

We bet you’re feeling inspired to visit Thompsons’ Hillcrest Orchard! This Elko apple orchard is one of Minnesota’s hidden gems. Make sure to swing by their orchard the next time you’re in town. 

Excited for more fall activity ideas? Then discover more Minnesota apple orchards!