Fall produce abounds in area
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WORTHINGTON — Although it seems to have taken a while, autumn appears to have finally arrived.
Pumpkins are turning up on doorsteps, corn stalks are adorning lamp posts and ovens everywhere are heating up to produce flavorful pies and other fall baked goods.
Standing by, ready to provide the produce to make it all possible, are several nearby orchards and vendors.And if you and your kids (or grandkids) are seeking more than foodstuffs or autumnal decor, heading out to the country for silly seasonal fun is also an option.Here’s a short summary of some area orchards and farms that are offering the goods: Stonegate Orchard and Market, Slayton Located just north of Slayton on U.S. 59, owners Larry and Gail Byers have a range of fresh apples — Snow Sweet, Honeycrisp and Honeygold, with Regents, Haralson and Cortland now arriving in the market — as well as caramel apples, jams, honey, pumpkins, frozen pies and “apple accessories” (think apple peelers, wedgers and corers).“Sales have been real good, and we have a good apple crop,” shared Gail Byers.Pre-picked apples are available, but picking your own is also an option.Stonegate is open Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Phone (507) 836-8373. Nystrom Orchards, Worthington“By the end of this week, all of our apple varieties will be available for purchase,” assured owner Aaron Nystrom. The Nystroms specialize in apples, and have “very nice size and quality” this year; they expect to have a good stock through Halloween. Varieties include Regent, Connell Red, Fireside, Honeycrisp, Haralson and Cortland. Honey is also available, and Kia Nystrom sells Nystrom Orchard apples at the Worthington Farmers Market each Tuesday afternoon.Nystrom Orchards is located at 30679 Quine Ave., Worthington, and is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Phone 376-6904. Ocheda Orchard, WorthingtonAlthough owner Chuck Nystrom says “Sweetango are going, going, gone,” many other apple varieties are awaiting customers — Honeycrisp, Connell Red, Cortland, Honeygold, Haralson, Zestar and Early McIntosh.“I still have Regent coming, and Keepsake will be after Oct. 15,” reported Nystrom. “The B-51, our new variety, will be here on Oct. 10, but I think it will sell out quickly.”Pre-picked apples are available in the market, where jams, honey and frozen pies are also on hand, or it is possible to pick your own apples from the nearby trees. Pumpkins and squash are also in abundance.“Pumpkins are pretty much ‘pick-your-own,’” suggested Nystrom.Ocheda Orchard is located about 3½ miles south of the Worthington Cemetery on Nobles County 5/Read Ave., and is open weekdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. Phone 376-3255. Grandpa’s Fun Farm, WorthingtonOwners Marlyn and Jolene Nystrom focus on the fun, with pumpkins, squash, gourds, garden produce and ornamental corn also figuring in the mix.“Our daughter has a barn that’s filled with refurbished furniture for sale,” Jolene mentioned.Activities include a play area, a corn maze, a trebuchet (pumpkin thrower), carnival games, miniature golf courses, crafts for kids, barrel train rides for adults and children and, new this year, a “fun house.”“We’ve had five weekends already, but we have two more weekends to go,” said Jolene.Grandpa’s Fun Farm is located at 31463 Read Ave. Worthington, and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and weekdays by appointment. Phone 376-5433. Poppe Pumpkin Patch and Park, LakefieldThis fun-filled spot surely offers something for everyone, with a Story Book Land, hayrides to the pumpkin patch, a tree maze, a corn maze and a cemetery maze, mini golf, an animal petting barn, barrel train rides and more. All attractions are available for one set price.The site also offers a full service café with burgers, soups, wraps and pie.Poppe Pumpkin Patch and Park is located about three miles northeast of Lakefield and is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Phone (507) 662-6495, or visit poppepumpkinpatch.com.Farmers’ markets in Worthington are expected to continue through the end of October, weather permitting, and take place Tuesday from 4-7 p.m. (at the corner of Tenth Street and Second Avenue) and Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon (parking lots of Schwalbach Ace Hardware and Northland Mall, both on Oxford Street).