Growing apples in Minnesota’s extreme climate can be risky business, which is why the Jacobson family, owners of Pine Tree Apple Orchards, decided to expand their acreage, buying a second orchard back in 1963.
“It may seem counter-intuitive, but by growing apples at two separate locations three hours apart, we were able to ‘manage the risk’ of the harsh growing conditions,” explains grower John Jacobson, adding that at that time the University of Minnesota was just beginning to develop its cold-hardy, high-quality apples varieties.
“A unique apple industry like Minnesota’s comes with its share of trials and tribulations, but the University of Minnesota apples help provide stability and diversity,” he adds. “We sell some widely known varieties like Cortland and Macintosh, but our focus is on the University of Minnesota varieties, which were developed for our region. They’ve become the cornerstone of what we grow.”
Labor Day signals the start of the busy season in Minnesota, and families visiting Pine Tree Apple Orchards can enjoy a range of fresh apples and apple products while partaking in music performances, wagon rides, a corn maze and pumpkin patch. “We’re certainly not the only orchard in the United States to offer these amenities, but what sets us apart is a one-of-a-kind region with a unique offering of apples!”