Carlson's Orchard Fresh


    Carlson's Orchard
    Bakery and Restaurant


    Located just 45 miles west of Minneapolis, Carlson’s Orchard Bakery and Restaurant has been providing great food and family entertainment since 1992 when Joe and Colleen Carlson decided to take the best of their experiences around the Northwest apple industry and transplant them to the local family farm in Winsted Minnesota.


    Soon word leaked out that the value and quality offered at the Orchard was worth the trip. Whether it’s a slice of fresh apple pie, a tasty sandwich, a hot bowl of delicious soup, a wide selection of apples – picked and u-pick – or just a walk through the orchard on a beautiful Minnesota fall day, Carlson’s Orchard Bakery and Restaurant is one stop you will quickly learn is one so many have in included on the fall calendar.


    From Field
    To Sorting
    To Pies



    MN Apple Orchard Shares Recipe For Success




    ‘Tis the season for picking, peeling, and pies. Its apple time in Minnesota and you may be thinking about baking up a sweet recipe.


    The Carlson Apple Orchard in Winsted, Minn. has a few family baking secrets they say have been their recipe for success. When its lunch time in the fall at the Carlson Orchard, there’s not a seat open in the place. Their $0.99 apple pie helps bring customers in, and the taste brings them back.

    The Carlson’s never intended on selling pies when they started their orchard in the 80s, but when they tried to sell the apples, their customers kept asking for pies. Joe and Colleen thought they’d give it a shot. “We kind of grew into it,” said Colleen Carlson. She came up with her own recipe after a lot of trying and tasting — a mix of Haralson, a few pieces of Honey Crisp, shortening, no butter, and a little less sugar to get the real flavor of the apples.


    “I think the best pie is when you have a mix of apples,” she said. “Ideally you want a little tart with sweet.” The first year they sold 100 apple pies.


    Now Colleen Carlson and her small crew of bakers make 18,000 apple pies from scratch every fall. That’s 500 a day. The Carlsons’ dabblings in pie making has turned out to be a lot more fruitful than they imagined. ” So, we gave the customers what they wanted and that helped bring customers out,” said owner Joe Carlson. "We come here every year with a group of senior citizens because we love this place," said a customer.


    Colleen Carlson said her tips for pie work well for apple crisp, too. She said a good tip for making caramel apples is to use Haralsons and make sure the apples are at room temperature when you make them. The colder the apple, the harder it will be for the caramel to stick.