Our 3 Favorite Apple Orchards in Western Wisconsin

Foster, Wisconsin

By Angie & Jeff

October 13, 2023

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It’s October in Western Wisconsin! And, that means fun picking your own giant, delicious Honeycrisp apples for a fraction of the price of the tiny apples from the store we have been subsisting on and all the great fall activities that come with a trip to an apple orchard. We’re a bit sad to say goodbye to the fantastic September we had, but bring on the delicious local apples.

There are some big orchards in the area that have an array of activities but also charge admission per person of $15. That’s a bit rich for our blood, especially since we don’t have any small children to entertain. These three orchards are our favorite in Western Wisconsin, each for a different reason.

Best Orchard & Art Experience (Also Best Orchard Wine) – The Glass Orchard

The Glass Orchard just south of Eau Claire is extremely unique and a must visit this fall. The Glass Orchard seamlessly blends art and agriculture in their beautiful shop and visit experience.

The Glass Orchard grounds and Projects on the Porch.
The Glass Orchard grounds and Projects on the Porch.

They have a glass blowing studio in a separate building in the back where you can catch a demonstration. We were lucky enough to catch the end of a glass pumpkin making class on our visit. Or, even better, you can sign up for a class to make glass art yourself. We were told they are full into November, but we’re already perusing their classes and our schedule to return for the glass art experience.

Hot glass demonstration at The Glass Orchard.
Hot glass demonstration at The Glass Orchard.

The shop has beautiful glass art available for sale, some made right there on site and some in partnership with area artists. Angie bought a pair of gorgeous blue glass earrings during our visit. This art makes the shop interesting and engaging at a level we didn’t expect from an apple orchard.

Glass art in The Glass Orchard store.
Glass art in The Glass Orchard store.

As an apple orchard, of course, they have apples to be picked. They label the different apple varieties in their orchard with different colored paint brushes hanging from the trees to color code the apple variety and further connect their art and agriculture theme.

The Glass Orchard pick-your-own apples. The various apple tree varieties are indicated by different color paint brushes hanging in the trees.
The Glass Orchard pick-your-own apples. The various apple tree varieties are indicated by different color paint brushes hanging in the trees.

The store also offers the traditional items you might expect from an apple orchard in terms of pre-picked apples available for sale, apple samples, and apple treats. We bought some of their apple donuts. They also offer wine tasting of their apple wines. We were a bit hesitant to join the wine tasting at first because we generally find fruit wines too sweet for our palettes now. We were pleasantly surprised that the three varieties of their apple wines were hands down the best fruit wines we have ever enjoyed.

Enjoying apple samples and apple donuts at The Glass Orchard.
Enjoying apple samples and apple donuts at The Glass Orchard.

If you’re looking for a unique orchard experience that beautifully and seamlessly blends art and agriculture, then The Glass Orchard is your place.

Best Traditional Fall Apple Orchard Experience – Leffel Roots Apple Orchard

Our pick for the traditional fall apple orchard experience, particularly for an ala carte experience of activities your kids will enjoy, is Leffel Roots Apple Orchard.

Leffel Roots Apple Orchard exterior photos.
Leffel Roots Apple Orchard exterior photos.

This orchard doesn’t charge an entry fee, which we appreciated. You can purchase activities ala carte, like their corn maze which offers night maze options as well. If you’re not going to do ALL the activities at one of the bigger orchards in the area, a visit to Leffel Roots would likely save a family money and still provide that fun fall experience we’re all looking for this time of year. They also have a pumpkin patch that is a beautiful sight and offers the ability to pick your own pumpkin on your visit.

Leffel Roots Orchard pumpkin patch.
Leffel Roots Orchard pumpkin patch.

As an orchard, of course, they also offer pick your own apples. Their store is robust in the apple related items they sell including fresh baked or frozen apple pies, pre-picked apples, other fall produce, and caramel apples to name a few. They also offer a food counter if you’re looking for lunch instead of just an apple treat.

Leffel Roots Orchard Store.
Leffel Roots Orchard Store.

We were drooling over their caramel apples when an employee walked over with a sample of their apple donuts. Jeff fell in love and decided he had to have those apple donuts, even if we had just had apple donuts at The Glass Orchard, too. Angie had to have one of the adorable pie crust remnant cookies in the shape of an apple. If you were ever around anyone making pies from scratch as a kid, you know the joy of the baked extra crust that doesn’t make it into the actual pie.

Enjoying treats from Leffel Roots Orchard.
Enjoying treats from Leffel Roots Orchard.

Best Apples for Eating & Fast Picking Experience – Mcilquham Orchard

Our pick for the no nonsense fast and inexpensive self-picking experience for giant and delicious Honeycrisp apples is Mcilquham Orchard. The Mcilquham name might sound familiar because it’s the same location we love to pick strawberries each summer. Similar to the strawberry picking experience, you can very quickly pick as many delicious Honeycrisp apples as your tummies can consume.

We spent about 20 minutes there on the day we visited, but about half of that was time admiring the beauty of the orchard and the solitude of our time out there completely alone for most of our visit.

Angie and Jeff enjoy picking Honeycrisp apples at Mcilquham Orchard.
Angie and Jeff enjoy picking Honeycrisp apples at Mcilquham Orchard.

In the end, we picked just short of 26 pounds of apples during our visit for a total cost of $37. If you’re in a hurry, we did see a family of four arrive and pick about the same amount as us in under 5 minutes!

Last year’s Mcilquham’s Honeycrisp apples lasted us until early January, so we’re hoping the same this year. We love tasting the deliciousness of a Wisconsin fall in the quiet solitude of a Wisconsin January day.

So, Which Apple Orchard is THE BEST?

The answer is that it depends on what you’re looking for! When people hear how much we travel and how much we do locally in Western Wisconsin, they love to ask us the “best” place to go or the “best” thing to do. We often answer that question with a few questions about what they are looking for to tailor our suggestions to them.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated apple orchard experience including art and wine, then The Glass Orchard is best. If you’re looking for a traditional apple orchard experience for a lower cost, then Leffel Roots Apple Orchard is the best. And, if you’re just looking for a place to quickly pick delicious Honeycrisp apples, then Mcilquham Orchard is the best.

We’re off to go enjoy some Honeycrisp apples now!