Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Field Trips: Part 2

My Fruit Production course also required all of us to take a self-guided field trip of a fruit farm in the area. Luckily, one of my friends from band's family who owns Pleasant Valley Orchard near Taylors Falls, MN. My group of friends takes a trip every year to the orchard which is a UPick operation and has an onsite store and bakery. There's also a hiking trail and a hay ride as well that my friends had a lot of fun with.

My roommate and I got to talk to the owner of the orchard about his growing methods and just general information about the farm. What made the biggest impression on me is how much time and effort he devotes to monitoring and trapping insect pests in order to keep pesticide use at a minimum. The amount he knows about the different pests life cycles and monitors their progression across the state of Minnesota every season is really fascinating. It also sounds like it would save him a lot of time and money only having to use a spray, for example, right after the bugs have laid their eggs and the spray causes the eggs not to hatch. The farm isn't certified organic, but they do use mainly organic practices. They also sell apples right out of their onsite shop, as well as to local grocers, and the local school system.


I ended up picking a lot of Haralson apples for pie making. I'm not really a person who eats apples raw, but I love them in baked goods. I ended up making an awesome pie out of them!


This orchard is a lot of fun and I saw a lot of people enjoying the gorgeous fall day. There were lots of families with young children who loved that there were farm animals and hay to play in. I definitely recommend checking them out next fall for an outing with family and friends of any age. I'd also recommend checking out their blog for updates from the orchard.

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