Apple orchards perfect place to enjoy cooling autumn weather


Photo credit: Jackson Smith

Autumn in Minnesota is always a delight. Year after year I am amazed at the spectacular, fleeting beauty of the changing colors of the many trees scattered throughout our neighborhoods; the sky juxtaposes those radiant rubies and glistening golds with stark grays and bright, bright blues. Oddly enough, I can never seem to find the moon in fall. It seems to appear and disappear according to a rhythm of astronomy that I’ve been completely unaware of. The air of autumn is a special treat as it becomes crisp enough to layer up in the coziest of my attire. That coolness always makes me think of being a child and going trick-or-treating for Halloween with my family and jumping in huge piles of leaves with my siblings.

It also reminds me of apples.

Apples: arguably one of nature’s most perfect creations. Beautiful to look at, and ranging from sunshine yellows, vernal greens, blushing pinks, and rich maroons, these orbs are also delicious (unless you have the misfortune of crunching into the misnomers that are red delicious apples). Apples are incredibly versatile as well, and there are tons of recipes that are savory or sweet. They are perfect snacks with a big scoop of almond butter. You can even drink their juice, or add spices to make a warm, comforting cider. Apples can do no wrong, unless you’re Snow White!

If you love apples like I do, then you should probably make it a point to head to an apple orchard. It’s literally a place just for apples! This year, I went to Victoria Valley Orchard in Shoreview, Minn. and it was lovely.

Photo credit: Jackson Smith

The owner, Molly Papenheim, owns the orchard and it’s right in her backyard. Her and her late-husband Donald Papenheim came to the property with five children and ten apple trees. Together with nothing but grass expanses and three oak trees comprising their backyard, they planted and the rest is history!

I was informed by Papenheim that apples are interesting genetically in that when planted from seeds, there is not guarantee that the seedling will grow into the same kind of apple tree as its parent tree! I learned this upon asking what kind of apple a “Papenheim” was; it grew from a wild seedling and was completely unique! Going to the apple orchard can be educational, too.

Overall, I recommend that people make time for going to orchards, or any kind of autumnal, outdoor activity. Autumn in Minnesota is so fleeting! It seems that overnight our world offers us a rare sight of trees transitioning to endure the winter cold. Apple trees bear their fruit, almost as a last farewell to warm weather. We see birds making their yearly trips to southern lands, and soon it will be time to dust off the warmer boots and coats. Enjoy these last few days with loved ones and go pick some apples! It’s a perfect day trip for the weekend or an off-day during the week. At the end of the day, make a pie, or get creative and introduce a savory component that the apples can highlight! Have fun with it, and stay warm.

Photo credit: Jackson Smith