We sell a range of fruits from Joraan’s Orchard in season. Please call ahead for availability 320-760-8732
- Nanking cherries
- Plums: July – August
- Apricots: July – August
- Apples: September
Fruits grown in Joraan’s Orchard are Certified Organic and held to the same high standards of sustainability, nutrition and taste as all of the products grown here at Prairie Horizons.
Though every farm used to have an orchard, growing fruit is a long term endeavor
that has been all but replaced in our region with fruit grown thousands of miles away.
Diversity and flavor are often lacking in types of fruit available, leading to less intake of fruits that contain high amounts of phytochemicals and antioxidants essential for disease prevention.
Joraan’s Orchard is a unique and special place in many ways, but most of all it is a living tribute to Luverne and Mary Jo’s son, Joraan Forbord. In 2006, Joraan began planting fruit trees at Prairie Horizons. He loved fruit and was a community-minded person with a simple, yet lofty, goal: Grow enough delicious fruits to share with others.
He passed away in 2010, at the age of 22, and the orchard became his legacy.
In the early days of the orchard, Luverne and Mary Jo partnered with friend and fruit breeder Dave Griffin. Planting the orchard was a community effort, with Dave guiding the process.
As a fruit grower and breeder, Dave’s process was a bit different than the usual propagation methods used by nurseries. “Vegetative propagation…produces duplicates of existing varieties by grafting, root cuttings, or micro propagation.” Dave, however, produced new varieties through sexual reproduction. The result is a “new and entirely unique plant which is different from either parent but has some characteristics of both…a breeder then makes selections from the offspring, keeping the good ones and culling out the undesirable individuals.”
While primarily a stone fruit breeder (apricots, cherries, plums and peaches), Dave became intrigued by an apple called Goldrush, a disease resistant variety out of a breeding program at Purdue University. It’s disease resistance meant there was less need for chemical sprays, but the variety was not hardy enough for the Minnesota climate. Along with a fellow apple breeder, Dave selected 3 other apple varieties, as well as an unknown variety from his neighbor’s orchard, to cross-breed with Goldrush for planting in Joraan’s Orchard.
In the years following the original planting, Dave continued to be involved in the orchard, culling undesirable trees that were not hardy enough or showed susceptibility to disease. He also set the standard for evaluating fruits for flavor, acidity levels, texture, appearance, size, ripening time, and keeping quality.
Joraan’s Orchard was a community effort from the very start and continues to need a community of people to help evaluate experimental fruit varieties. As Dave put it on that first day, “Since many of these things are subjective there is a benefit to having a large number of people involved in the evaluation…Your assistance in this will be encouraged and your evaluations will go into making the fruit quality decisions…at the end of this adventure, we can hope that there will be a new apple variety that moves the standard for good quality, disease resistant apples forward a peg or two.”
10 years later, we are harvesting delicious and intriguing experimental varieties that are at home in Joraan’s Orchard and thriving in our Certified Organic system.
Dave Griffin passed away in 2014, but his legacy remains in the experimental fruit varieties he created.
Today, Joraan’s Orchard continues to provide a place of healing and community connection, and we invite you to be a part of it!
Join us on the first Saturday in May to “Wake Up Joraan’s Orchard”. Paired with our Join Hands for Pollinators event, it is a day of community connection, good food, reflection and celebration.
Developing new fruit varieties requires regular evaluation of the plants themselves and the fruits they produce, so please help us sample delicious apples and share your opinions for a good cause.