Driving through the rolling hills of Southern Minnesota farm country, there are plenty of idyllic views of the expected: a few cows milling about, colorful tree branches swaying in the wind and the soaring eagle. Which is why it’s impossible for the eyes traveling down Highway 169 not to be jarred awake by the bright yellow sign promising the Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store at Jim’s Orchard.
This candy wonderland is ground zero for the sugar lover. It’s only open seasonally, through the warm months and at this time of year, we October is shuddering into November, the days for visiting are numbered. The last day is always the Friday after Thanksgiving, this year that’s November 27.
Inside treats costs as little as a quarter and range from classics, hard-to-find nostalgic sweets and new fangled deals (bacon or habanero-spiked things.)
The key to a successful visit is to bring a wad of cash, since this is a good old fashioned fun time, they don’t accept credit cards.
The candy store is a part of Jim’s Orchard. It’s an apple orchard that’s still run by a family who has deep roots in this part of the country with roots in Scott County dating back to the 1930’s.
The orchard has been operating for over 37 years and the big yellow barn that was converted into the candy shop doesn’t carry just candy, but it’s also where you can pick up pies and other homemade goodies. Plus, there are apples and caramel apples that act has a sticky, tasty bridge between the two worlds.
It was 2005 when after a couple of bad years for apples helped owner and operator Robert Wagner embrace the sweet side of a downturn and stock the barn with over 3,000 different kinds of candy, all sectioned out by type.
Minnesota’s Largest Candy Store at Jim’s Orchard is open at 20430 Johnson Memorial Drive 9:00 am to 7:00 pm weekdays and from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm on the weekends.