THE CARNIVAL SCENT of donuts permeated the autumn air as I stepped from the van in the gravel parking lot of Fireside Orchard & Gardens. For years I’ve wanted to visit this Northfield area orchard and try the fresh-from-the-fryer apple cinnamon donuts. Apples were secondary to this first-ever visit.
After stopping to smell a few roses in the frontyard rose garden, I aimed straight for the retail store and the source of that sugary cinnamon scent. The place was busy with people buying bags of apples, cups of apple cider, fudge, caramel apples and those donuts that couldn’t come off the fryer conveyor fast enough. Fireside also offers a lot more foods, including bacon ketchup (not made on-site).
I figured I better sample a few apples first. I tried SnowSweet and Sugar Bee, both new apples to me, and the familiar Honey Crisp. Hands down, Honey Crisp remains my favorite apple, developed right here in Minnesota.
By the time I’d finished my third apple slice, Randy had already purchased a half dozen of those coveted donuts. We headed out the back door, right behind the kid pushing a cart holding a crate of apples. His job seemed that of keeping apples in stock as I watched him several times hustle between nearby storage building and retail store.
This place was abuzz with people enjoying a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon in rural Minnesota. Fireside is a truly welcoming place with assorted sitting areas, yard games and property open to wandering—from orchard to rose gardens.
Pumpkins and gourds for sale add to the seasonal appeal.
Two parked vintage tractors present fun rural photo ops. This is just a relaxing family-friendly and dog-friendly place that is family-run.
Within a half hour drive of the south metro, just 1.5 miles east of Interstate 35 along Minnesota State Highway 19, Fireside Orchard is conveniently-located, easy to find. A fun and beautiful place to visit.
As for those apple cinnamon donuts, they were a tad greasy, just as one would expect from a fair-type food. I’m certain I’ll return to Fireside. I love orchards like this that realize folks today want more than just a place to buy apples. They want an experience.
TELL ME: Do you have a favorite apple orchard? If yes, tell me why it’s your favorite.
© Copyright 2019 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
Apple orchards are definitely an experience these days, aren’t they? The huge ones that offer things for the kiddos to do are so popular but give me a small mom and pop type stand and I am happy. I totally agree with the donut observation–the cider donuts we bought were a tad greasy as well and reminded me of fair food. 🙂
Both types of orchards are needed. The smaller ones and then those that offer more in activities. Fireside is a compact mom-and-pop place that also offers plenty for families. So a win-win all around for everyone.
I asked at a winery one time why rose gardens. He stated the health of the roses tells the health of the overall fauna and flora. I do love a good Honey Crisp as well as trying out a donut or two. I miss apple orchards. The one neighbor I babysat for had a hobby apple farm, so did not have to go far for an apple fix. My other favorite apple place is Apple Hill in Placerville, CA (apples, wine, baked goods – oh my!). Happy Exploring – Happy Day – Enjoy 🙂
I didn’t know that about roses. I learned something new today.
What a lovely setting! Thanks for taking us along!
It is a beautiful place. And you are welcome.
My wife and I being recent North Dakota transplants are in the checking everything out stage. We love jumping in our car for Saturday drives between Minnesota and Wisconsin. One day we stumbled upon Fischer Criox Farm Orchard on Highway 21 St Criox Trail where we enjoyed the small retail shop with all the apple related fixn’s. A wonderful surprise for us was Carpenter Nature Center next door. It has wonderful walking trails through thick woods, it was a beautiful walk on a beautiful day.
That whole region is beautiful and it sounds like you are discovering some wonderful spots here in Minnesota and also in Wisconsin. Welcome to our region!
We have an area called Apple Hill, about 1 hour east of us in the Sierra foothills. There are dozens of orchards, wineries and Christmas tree farms. We’ve been there twice this year for “the experience” and the apples and donuts and fudge. Growing up in Owatonna, we used to go to an orchard in Faribault to get apples. I don’t know if is still there, but it too was an experience.
Apple Hill seems a fitting name for an orchard you enjoy in your area of California. In Faribault, we have Trump’s Apple Orchard. Uhlir’s (sp?) is no longer open.
Fireside Orchard had a grand opening this summer to showcase their new building. I’m excited to see it. It’s a great orchard to have close by. I have not been out there yet this season…it’s on our list to go with the grandkids when they come.
Since I’ve never been to Fireside, I have no comparison to make with the old building. But I will tell you I really like the design of the new building. Enjoy your time there with the grandkids.
In the late 1990s I lived in Pennsylvania. I don’t recall the name of the apple orchard but it was just outside Porterville, PA and in the fall it was a wonderful place to visit. My favorite was their apple cider, warm, spicy sweet and perfect on a blustery fall day.
That apple cider sounds delicious. Thank you for sharing your favorite apple orchard.
This brought back many memories of my childhood. Thanks for the stroll down memory lane, Audrey!
You are welcome. And welcome to the comments section.
I’ve never been to an apple orchard but this looks like fun and food…
Fun and food. Can’t go wrong with both. You need to visit and orchard. There are lots in this area of Minnesota.