Monday, September 15, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

Ah! These are almost the three best words in the English language! Don't get me wrong, we had such a GREAT time this weekend...we went to three apple orchards Sunday and another three today along with a couple unplanned stops (other apple markets that I thought would be good prospects for Greenstar products) as well as a really fun hotel to stay at -- and we had a blast at each place! (I'll post pictures starting tomorrow....) But any of you who are moms probably understand when I say that with little kids, it's a relief to get home, too. The kids were horrid the last 30 minutes (is that the norm?), although the last place we stopped, Susanna ended up crying hysterically without explaining why. She finally told me she would be happy when she was home in her own bed and could get dog kisses from Rudy!

We started out Sunday at Aamodt's orchard -- a fun place with some low keyed activities -- a "kiddie tractor" area that Luke loved, pony rides that Susanna enjoyed, and some enthusiastic responses to Greenstar products that I loved! In fact, when I was looking around for someone to talk with, I approached the first adult employees I saw, mentioning my name and that we had a farm market up in Park Rapids. Whoa! The enthusiastic response I got was QUITE unexpected! "Park Rapids? A farm market? New products? We want to hear ALL about it! We REALLY do!" I was thinking, okay, either they train the employees to be very welcoming to everyone, or else these folks are a bit loony! Neither, it turns out. Rob was born in Park Rapids and grew up here! After spending about an hour or so, we hit the road to our next stop...

Afton Apple had a great layout; about a 20 minute wagon ride which dropped folks off at different locations for apple picking along with a stop at a really fun playground before looping to the main store. The tractor driver must've enjoyed our kids, because he'd speed up and slow down, grinning when Luke and Susi would giggle non-stop. He even did a wagon-ride version of a 360. Don't ask any more! They were also in the midst of u-pick raspberry season. I've never seen so many raspberries in my life! Ripe for the picking, you could stand in one spot and literally get half a pint within a few minutes. I think Luke and Susi (okay, Tony and me, too!) probably each ate a full pint while picking another five. We have less than two left.... And yep, they were interested in Greenstar, too! We also picked up our first apples there, yummy! MacIntosh and Red Baron's.

Then it was on to McDougal's Apple Junction, about five miles away. By then it was drizzling, much to our disappointment. See, McDougal's has a GREAT kiddie area, a mini maze for the kids, another "tractor trike" park (even better than Aamodt's), lots of animals to pet and feed, cut-out cows to "milk," and more. And while the kids enjoyed their time (and Tony enjoyed his even more out in the corn maze!), we were all soaked enough where the kids had to be completely changed before heading on our way. We picked up some WONDERFUL Zestar apples, first time I had them and WOW are they good! We also got lots of fresh cider which will sell quite fast! Gary and Alice are a lovely older couple who sent us off with a bag of hot fresh mini apple donuts, much to everyone's delight! They plan on retiring within a year....and our next stop was....

AmericInn in Shakopee -- and it had a couple great water slides in the swimming pool area. Tony enjoyed going down the 108 foot slide several times with and without the kids. The pool was much too cold for me to dare going down (I really wanted to, but I was border line shaky and didn't want to risk having another "spell," bummer!). They also loved climbing up the back of the frog and sliding down his tongue into the kiddie pool. We all crashed pretty quick for the night and got in a good 10 hours (Tony and me) and 11 hours (the kids) sleep. Yeah, it was good! The kids went swimming again in the morning, charming the manager on site into opening the slides again (which are usually closed week days). They decided they wanted to stay there forever...but were all for heading to the next pumpkin party at....

MN Harvest -- they had such a great layout and I was so impressed by what we saw! Horse and pony rides (unfortunately, only on the weekend), about two dozen mini and baby animals where you could go in and pet/feed them. BIG hit with the kids! A big maze, wagon rides, all kinds of stuff! And yes, they were very interested in Greenstar, yippee! We also picked up more apples -- Haralsons, 1606 (a newer apple not yet named...they "create" many new apples), and my favorite by far -- Creamy Delicious. It's a cream colored apple with some shots of red in the skin, delightfully sweet and crisp, and it actually does taste a bit creamy! I wanted to get extras, but they only had one bushel left...everything else (sob!) was sold out, and it was the end of the season for them. We then took another very short trip to....

Emma Krumbee's. I think this was by far the favorite place of all of us. Their store was wonderful and had such a variety of items! Yep, VERY interested in Greenstar, yeah! But they had a great corn maze, a scarecrow contest (folks make and enter scarecrows all season long -- we saw "Kermit the Frog," "Bob and Larry," about 7 "Batman," and three "Michael Phelps" along with many other clever entries. They had another tike tractor park, a mountain with a slide coming down, goats and donkeys and ponies to feed, a huge straw mountain, wooden trucks and trains, you name it! After picking up 6 cases of frozen "take and bake" pies, hungry and tired, we climbed into the van in search of an inexpensive place to get lunch then were off to....

Apple Junction (with both kids getting in naps during the hour trip) -- many of the attractions were closed during the week, but we got to again see goats, chickens, and more, take a wagon ride, and pick up apples! I somehow managed to get the last two bushel of Cortland in the van the console Susanna, assuring her she would soon get doggie kisses, then we packed up and headed back home.

The kids lasted about 2 minutes before falling asleep in their beds. We're getting ready to head there ourselves, and we genuinely enjoyed our weekend. Tony took tons of pics...I'm gonna post some tomorrow.

If you live nearby, stop in for some apples at the market! It was well worth the trip!

3 comments:

precious grandma said...

Your excitement just tickles me to no end! Our very sophisticated daughter enjoying farming/marketing, etc. so much! God truly works miracles in our lives. So glad you enjoyed the trip. Sounds like the kids had a blast also. Glad Tony could get some fun time and relaxation for both of you. Your apples sound "delicious" wish I were closer. Maybe you'll still have a few later on? The creamy delicious sound wonderful! Do they cook up well?
Love and kisses to all.

liz said...

One of the best things about working at the orchard in high school was tasting all the different varieties of apples. YUM!

Martha said...

Wow, Lin! I wish we could have come with you ... but we would have left 30 minutes earlier for home to avoid those last 30 minutes of torture. :) Ha ha.