Fall 2021 is upon us and so is the Fall season of exploring Pumpkin patches and Apple Orchards of all sorts! Iowa has a fantastic variety of fruit orchards to explore and while there are many to choose from – I went through 5 in the state to give you variety and a fantastic opportunity to get out and explore! Whether you are into the cider or wine products they provide, apple products, or simply the next best apple to grab a bite – Here are 5 Apple Orchards in Iowa to Explore!
1. Little Sioux Apple Orchard – Milford, Iowa
This one is fairly close to me – and it provides a great excuse for me to drive a couple miles and explore the varieties in this orchard, including Honey Crisp, Redfree, Zestar, Wealthy, and more – I love the story of this young orchard and it involves the owners moving from Maryland into the deep rich farm country of NW Iowa – they fell in love with farm life and about a decade later started their venture into Apple’s! You can come explore their orchard (which is set to open late August 21, 2021) and they have a variety of activities to go along with the apples including educational tours, family tours, bonfires, tractor rides, sunflower cutting, corn maze, and the best of all…pick your own apples! Picking your own apples to me is a huge draw, because some orchards have gone away from this to protect trees and land, but the ones who still have it – I LOVE THEM! It gets you out in the trees and gets your hands dirty (or full of apples). This orchard is a growing orchard – as they are introducing new varieties of apples and set in the a sweet setting next door to popular Lake Okoboji. You can find them at 2618 160th Avenue, Milford, IA 51351, US.
2. Community Orchard – Fort Dodge, Iowa
You can’t get down near Central Iowa and not hear the name “Community Orchard” they’ve been a staple in the Fort Dodge community now since the early 1940’s and what makes the orchard even MORE special is the fact that the current owners are going on their 40th year this season! How exciting! I love their story on how it started as a dairy farm and became an apple orchard by fate! Who knew the locals would come to love their apples so much! I know I did! Personally, I was out hunting for a local winery (which they have practically next door at Soldier Creek Winery – another fantastic Fort Dodge story!) and ran into Community Orchard! This is a GREAT orchard to come explore! They have a great selection of apples from Golden and Red delicious, Haralson, Cameo and more! Not to mention their yummy Orchard Café! If you find yourself hungry after an apple picking session – stop in for a quick bite.
Don’t Forget the Pumpkins!
Apples of course! But don’t forget their pumpkin patch! You can catch 5 other Pumpkin Patches across Iowa as well – but it’s always nice to have variety at the apple orchard and their Pumpkin Patch is set to open October 1 and through the month 12 pm – 4 pm. And…if you are a kid at heart! Don’t miss their back 40 playground! Full of games to please all ages, from a corn maze, tire mountain, animal area (with a cow you can actually milk!) corn box, and other farm games. You can find this fabulous orchard at 2237 160th St. | Fort Dodge, IA 50501.
3. Small’s Fruit Farm – Mondamin, Iowa
If you ever find yourself on the western edge of Iowa – try driving the Loess Hills Scenic Byway. It’s an amazing place that runs along the Missouri River, but there is a little orchard (33 acres) that sits outside of the town of Mondamin, Iowa – that my Grandfather used to drive down to buy apples in bulk and drive all the way up back to Cherokee, Iowa to sell the apples from Small’s Fruit Farm in Mondamin. The history is rich on this farm, starting back in 1894 where it first got its start – all the way through 5 to 6 generations within the same family. The apples are good and the history is rich, which bring Small’s Fruit farm towards the top of my list for 1 of 5 apple orchards to explore in Iowa.
Don’t Forget the Strawberries!
If strawberries are your thing – don’t forget that in early June they come into harvest in this area, bringing some of the best tasting strawberries around – and of course the season continues deep into Fall with the harvest of their delicious apples and pumpkins. Oh – and don’t forget the raspberries! They have a great selection of fruits and berries at this orchard.
Wedding bells at the orchard?
Last, but not least, I had to add one more feature of this orchard that make it one of kind and worthy of a stop – or a wedding. That’s right – they have their very own wedding venue at the orchard with a pavilion built back in 2015 – you can bring your loved ones and tie the knot at the orchard! It adds a sweet little touch to the already sweet surroundings, but the area seats a few hundred or more – so if you are looking for something a little different with an outdoor wedding, Small’s Fruit Farm might have what you are looking for? You can find their orchard at 1844 194TH St. | Mondamin, Iowa 51557
4. Wilson’s Apple Orchard – Iowa City, Iowa
Try searching for apples orchards in Iowa on any popular search engine – and one that will will always show up, or near the top of the search is Wilson’s Orchard near Iowa City. Not to mention just getting down around the Iowa City area is enough for a great weekend getaway! This Fall stop in at Wilson’s and treat yourself to a whole variety of different produce products – whether its Strawberries, Blackberries, Blueberries, Cherries, Peaches, Sweetcorn, pumpkins, and or course – Apples! Basically, they have everything from June to October covered for the average produce consumer.
Apples! Apples! Apples!
The part about Wilson’s that really grabs my attention is their attention to detail regarding seasonal fruit. They have an entire schedule laid out so everyone can come pick the fruit that is available according to season. Most importantly, understanding the difference in the variety of apples! Apples come in all sorts of colors and sizes and tastes! Whether you want little, sweet, tart, large, crisp – eating or baking – they have your apple! You can check out their entire schedule of “pick your own apples” by variety and set yourself up for the perfect apple orchard picking experience! Oh!! And another awesome thing about Wilson’s is their Hard Cider! If you are a huge fan of alcoholic ciders – Wilson’s is practically semi-famous for their brand! You can check them all out on their website Wilson’s Orchard & Farm. You can find them at 4823 Dingleberry Rd NE – Iowa City, IA 52240
5. Czipar’s Apple Orchard – Dubuque, Iowa
Dubuque, IA offers a lot of different variety of activities for travelers – whether exploring the Mississippi River or the Field of Dreams (for baseball fans) that sits nearby in the town of Dyersville. But in the Fall – they offer one of the best Apple Orchards to come visit, explore and experience! Czipar’s Apple Orchard – which is known by the locals to have one of the best Tri-state views of the area. Sitting on top of a bluff it offers great views of Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin! But if you want a real tasty treat – an insider tip shares that one of the best things to come try at the orchard are the Apple Cider Donuts! They are delicious and puts a whole different meaning to the word “apple” – actually mixing apples and donuts are one of the genius ideas of the century (in my opinion).
Donuts! Donuts! Donuts!
Put it on your bucket list to visit Dubuque, Iowa in the Fall – you can thank me later, but you’ll get an opportunity to possibly see some fantastic views of Fall colors as you drive the country side, and Czip’s will give you a variety of both! Beautiful Fall colors and views, a variety of apples to choose from and Apple Donuts that will make you want to come back for more!
Apple Orchards and Pumpkin Patches are just a few reasons why I love Iowa and the Midwest in the Fall. These are just 5 Apple Orchards to explore in Iowa – but there are many more! Don’t be afraid to get out and wander – take that gravel road to nowhere and find yourself lost in one of those picturesque story book moments – where you are caught dreaming and asking “Is this Heaven”? Nope…it’s just Iowa – with a few apples to go with it!