Minnesota apple growers are reporting a good crop of apples this fall, despite a later than normal start to harvest. Because of the late spring, most Minnesota apples are ripening about seven to 10 days later than usual.

Todd Harvey, owner of Fireside Orchard & Gardens in Northfield, says the 2013 crop is good for growers and consumers.

"While we won't set any all-time records this year, most growers are seeing a good, solid harvest of high quality fruit," said Harvey. "Many varieties ripened a bit later than usual and the hot temperatures earlier this month kept many people away from apple picking, so we're looking for a strong finish throughout October."

According to Minnesota Grown spokesperson Paul Hugunin, a trip to the apple orchard can be a fun activity for the whole family.

"A family outing to the orchard is a wonderful way to introduce kids to how delicious fresh produce can taste - as well as provide them with some firsthand knowledge of where their food comes from," Hugunin said. "Plus, many apple orchards also offer fresh apple cider, fall raspberries, pumpkins, squash and other seasonal favorites to enjoy."

He says many orchards around the state also offer family activities such as hayrides, tours and crop mazes.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture's Minnesota Grown Directory is a free statewide guide to more than 100 apple orchards. The directory also includes a comprehensive list of fall raspberry patches, corn mazes, wineries and more. Search the directory online at www.minnesotagrown.com or order a free printed copy by calling 1-888-TOURISM.