Visit the historic Red Barn, discover the past, present and future of agriculture, explore Minnesota farm crops, and get tips on growing your own fruits and vegetables!
For decades, visitors have admired from afar the historic red barn on the eastern edge of the Arboretum. This well-loved landmark is celebrating a rebirth as it enters its second century. Careful renovations will soon be complete and it will become the focal point for an exciting new food growing campus. Whether you take Farm’s Northern Grains Walk through plots of major Minnesota crops or explore its demonstration area of fruit and vegetables to try at home, interactive interpretive displays will prime your curiosity and set the stage for intriguing conversations about food production, the people who grow our food, and the enduring value of the land.
1. Tashjian Bee & Pollinator Discovery Center: Watch the honey bee hives in action and explore the interactive exhibit hall.
2. Garden for Pollinators: Observe gardens buzzing with activity from butterflies, hungry bees and other pollinators (May - October).
3. Northern Grains Walk: Stroll through today’s agricultural crops such as soybeans, wheat, corn, oats, barley, rye and sunflowers. Check out potential crops of the future such as Kernza®, perennial flax, perennial sunflower and camelina. Visit each of the stop-and-learn interactive stations along the way.
4. Red Barn: Visit the iconic red barn! Carefully restored to preserve its history and beauty, interior banners celebrate the legacy of 30 varieties of northern fruits and grains developed by the University of Minnesota.
5. Vegetable Gardens: Visit a garden for growing vegetables on a homeowner or urban agriculture scale. Learn helpful tips on how to maximize vegetable production per square yard anywhere you want to grow.
6. Fruitful Way: Explore fruits that can thrive in your Minnesota yard or community garden such as apricots, plums, apples, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries and currants! See plantings of hardy perennials that feed pollinators essential to these fruit crops.
7. Garden Gallery: This exhibit garden will serve as a rotating stage to showcase diverse crops and growing practices, envisioned and managed by a different Guest Curator each season.
8. Gathering Lawns: Enjoy the pastoral vistas from these two green oval “lawns” below the Red Barn. A great place for on-the-grass picnics, events, or community gatherings.
9. Summer Kitchen: Drop by this seasonal outdoor kitchen to taste samples of farm-fresh snacks.
10. Sweasy Learning Shelter: Bring a lunch and enjoy a picnic under this shelter next to Bee Center. Capacity 80 people.
Tool Shed Exhibit:
April 1 - October 31 (closed Nov 1-Mar 31)
Monday - Friday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Saturday - Sunday Noon - 4 p.m.
Apple Demonstration Plots: Explore how apples are grown commercially in Minnesota and view a living history University of Minnesota apple variety introductions, from the first apple developed through First Kiss.
Grape Demonstration Plots: View how grapes are grown commercially in northern climates, showcasing University of Minnesota varieties.
Orchard & Vineyard Walk: Adjacent to Eastern Drive, this accessible walkway loops around the demonstration Orchard & Vineyard (future developments) that will showcase apples and grapes
11. The Farmhouse Education Center: This building will serve as the welcome center for the Farm. It will include a classroom, a conference room, and will serve as the headquarters for the Extension Statewide Master Gardener Program and Arboretum Adult Education.
Proposed Future Developments:
Compost & Living Soil Demonstration area
New Farm Public Entrance
Native on the Land Exhibit Garden
The Arboretum’s Red Barn and Farm is on original tribal homeland of the Dakota people - as is the rest of the Arboretum property and the surrounding region. It became the farmstead of early Swiss immigrant farmers Theodore & Sophie Bost, who cleared the first fields beginning in the 1850s.
The historic Red Barn was built a century ago around 1920 by the Williams family. They had 32 cows and ran a small dairy farm here from the 1920s to the 1960s. The existing Red Barn on the site was built in 1920.
University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota purchased the property in 1968.