Harvest Time Orchards: Donuts
Although it is still so very hot outside, we are sliding right into fall. As promised, on our Fall Activities List, we kicked off our fall season by apple picking! We visited Harvest Time Orchards and Oriole Springs Orchard in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. It is about an hour drive from the suburbs of Chicago but it is always worth the trip. This is a well-loved tradition that is carried on by my husband’s framily (See what I did there? Friends that are like family!) since before he was born and we have decided to tag along these past few years. Next year, it will be the 40th anniversary and you better believe we will be crashing that party, too!
Not only is it a tradition for our family to go apple picking each year, our children adore it and look forward to going. It is an opportunity to be outside, run freely in the orchards with their cousins and eat donuts. Yep, that’s where they got us. The donuts! You can smell them as you pull into the gravel parking lot and if you don’t get there early, be assured that there will be a line. So, each year, we pull ourselves out of bed at 6:30 in the morning on a Sunday to beat the crowds and get our piping fresh donuts. Now, most apple orchards have donuts but they aren’t like these apple orchard donuts. What makes them different? They aren’t apple donuts! They have an assortment but I always go for a hot vanilla sprinkle donut to fuel up for our apple picking. It’s hard to only have one!
Oriole Springs Orchard: Apples
After we gorge ourselves on deliciousness, we hop back in the car and go just down the road to Oriole Springs Orchards. These orchards are spread out with tons of trees. There are no frills here so we come here solely for the apples, and they are worth it. We get a 1/2 bushel and eat them for days, no weeks, no, maybe months. It should be noted that you must pay in cash. Do make sure that if you have a large group, that you are directed to the same orchard. This year, our group was split up because there were two honeycrisp spots and we had no idea.
Harvest Time Orchards: Playtime, Lunch & Goodies for Home
Once we have picked our apples, we get back in the car and head back over to Harvest Time Orchards. This is when the kids really have a blast. We visit their small playground and petting zoo. The petting zoo includes pigs, chickens and lots of hungry goats. Usually, you can buy a cup of food for a dollar and feed the animals. However, there was no one at the sales booth when we came so we fed them the food that other people had dropped. Ha! Way to save a buck, huh?
You won’t believe this..well, maybe you will, if you know me. After we let the kiddos burn some energy, we go and buy brats for lunch. Yup, like 2 hours after downing the donuts. It’s like a holiday. Why not? They are delicious and if I had to choose (and I once did while pregnant), I would choose one of the brats over the donuts!
Lastly, you must hit the Red Barn, which houses a meat and cheese shop, and the cider house. Don’t forget your Nueske’s bacon! Yum!
Also inside the Red Barn, you can find a small selection of canned fruits, pumpkins, jams and other items for purchase. You can even buy apples here if you don’t want to trek out to the orchard.
Tips & Tricks
- Arrive early; there will be lines if you don’t arrive early in the day. We aim to get to Harvest Time around 8:30 and head over to Oriole around 9.
- Bring cash for the apples. This year it was $25 for a 1/2 bushel and $15 for a peck
- Bring a cooler for anything you might buy in the Red Barn
- If you like, buy some donuts for home. Pop them in the microwave the next morning for 30 seconds and they will melt in your mouth
- There are plenty of port-a-potties available at Harvest Time Orchards but there aren’t any facilities at Oriole Springs.
Harvest Time Orchards
Check the website for specifics on what they have available for picking.
36116 128th Street
Twin Lakes, WI 53181
Definitely check their Facebook page for picking schedule and hours. Certain varieties are only available on certain days. The honeycrisp apples go in about a day, however they are delicious!
35032 128th Street
Twin Lakes, WI 53181