MN Apple Orchard Blog

Barns are romantic, they engender an emotional response, a nostalgia if you will, for an era gone by.
Old barns are a symbol of how a farm family’s life is intertwined with the land they farm. For many farm families, the barn was the center of farming activity. And so it is with us.
Our barn has a special place in our hearts. When we started the orchard, and opened for the first time in 1993, we did so in our barn. What is now the gift shop was our sales room and we built out the basement to house our apple cooler and packing line. We operated exclusively out of the barn until the fall of 2007 when we moved into the pole shed we remodeled into the Apple Shed.
So, it has been with a bit of anxiety that we’ve watched our beloved barn age. The paint is fading, the walls are leaning where they once were straight, and every time there is a wind storm we watched more of the roof blow away.
Restoring a barn is no small feat. We felt we owed it to ourselves as well as the future to undertake the project before it was too late.
We’ve been told it was built around 1930 to replace the original barn taken down by a tornado.  Some parts of our barn have hand hewn timbers and boards, suggesting that some of it was salvaged from the original barn. We stand in the basement of our barn and imagine the former owners milking their cows twice a day and sending the cream to the old Shafer Creamery. We can imagine the haymow filled with sweet smelling, fresh cut alfalfa.
Our barn is as much a part of our orchard as our apples. It is part of our brand and we know that like us, our customers have a deep affection for our barn. When you approach the orchard from either direction, it looms ahead, letting you, your family or friends know you’re almost here.
This winter, we have embarked on a project to make sure that our barn passes its 100th birthday in fine form. Phase one is to restore its integrity as an agricultural structure. When you drive by or visit the orchard you may see work underway including:  straightening the walls, replacing rotting wood, new shingles and paint. Once our barn is stable and weathertight we will consider how this grand old structure can best serve our customers in the future.
There’s lots more memories to be made in that big red barn.