There is nothing better than a bright, 80° late summer day and an Aamodt’s apple orchard visit, in our hometown of Stillwater, Minnesota. Every year, Mary Jo and I try to get to Aamodt’s once or twice, to have a picnic, buy a bottle of wine at St. Croix vineyards, and enjoy the beautiful Minnesota fall weather. And pick up some delicious fresh apples! A trip to the apple orchard is a tradition that everyone should have. Today we met our daughter Amy and her wife Karen at the farm and enjoyed a picnic lunch and a walk around the orchard and vineyard.
Aamodt’s has been in business since 1948 and it has been a fall destination for many folks in the Twin Cities area. It’s less than a 30 minute drive from Minneapolis or St. Paul. And while you are this far east, you might as well make a trip to downtown Stillwater and take a walk along the beautiful St. Croix River.
Mary Jo grew up in Stillwater and we moved back to Stillwater after we were married and I got out of the Army. To us, it is a really beautiful and special place. That’s why we keep coming back every summer, even though we live in Florida now.
This is our final week in Minnesota and we will be heading home on Friday. The 80° temps won’t last long here and we are ready to see our Florida friends again.
Aamodt’s has a large sales room and here’s Mary Jo checking out a poster of the varieties of apples they have. Besides all the apples, they have lots of pies and apple pastries to choose from. Yum!
The farm also supports the off-shoot business, St. Croix Vineyards. Grab an apple pie and grab a bottle of wine. What could be better?
The vineyards are incorporated in the apple orchard. I’m not sure what variety of grapes are grown here, but they are probably mostly the winter hearty Marquette grape that was developed through the University of Minnesota. When the temperature in winter can sometimes be 20° below zero, it’s hard to keep grapevines from freezing out. The Marquette has been the best winter hearty variety developed so far. If you go 40 or 50 miles north of here, grapes really can’t be grown without freezing out every few years. It takes a grape plant 3 or 4 years to even start producing enough grapes to harvest so it is a real problem in Minnesota.
The grape vines on the farm seem to be producing well and are nearly ready for harvest. These looked delicious!
We had a picnic of tuna pasta salad and homegrown San Marzano tomatoes, grown by Amy and Karen on their urban Minneapolis farm…(or large city lot)!
The farm has a petting zoo of sorts which included 5 or 6 goats. This girl was very friendly and liked to be scratched. I think I got this shot when I stopped scratching…The goat was like, “Is that all?”
Amy and Karen are a couple of good apples!
Of course, we had to drive into Stillwater and Karen had to go by the house owned by Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard when they lived in town. Karen is a big “American Horror Story” fan. As you can see, or can’t see, the couple was used to some privacy!
And our visit to Stillwater included a stop at Pioneer Park with it’s view of the St Croix River valley. Here is the old bridge which is still in use, and beyond it is the new bridge being built that will be ready in 2017.
The old Stillwater bridge was built in 1931 and the two lane is really obsolete. But it is a beautiful picture. Speaking of beautiful pictures, check out “Grumpier Old Men” and the wedding scene that was filmed with the bridge in the background.
Go take your family on a fall trip to an apple orchard!