MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When baking the best apple pie in the entire state of Minnesota, there must be some kind of secret ingredient.

Pine Tree Apple Orchard has been in the Jacobson family since the 1950s, and today it remains a family business — run by six Jacobson siblings.

“There’s something about this piece of ground,” said Bill Jacobson. “The flavor of the apples we grow on this hillside is tremendous. The other thing we have going for us is Pine Tree Lake.”

It’s the orchard’s namesake, and it’s more than a picturesque view. The lake draws cool air away from the hill in cold months, and pushes cool air up the hillside in warmer times.

“It’s an amazing place, very special to a lot of people, not only our customers but employees,” Jacobson said. “We’ve had employees that work for us for almost 40 years.”

Two of those employees are sisters Laverne and Alice. How can you go wrong when grannies are making your pie?

“Wherever we go they say, ‘Oh, here come the apple ladies,'” Laverne said.

“Yeah, and they expect you to bring a pie!” Alice said.

Laverne says “tender loving care” Is what makes a good apple pie. If it was anyone other than her who said that, I wouldn’t have bought that line.

“Each one is handmade and each crust is individually designed by the person that’s doing it,” she said.

On an average day, this team will make at least 500 pies. In watching the assembly line, I picked up some key ingredients fast — real butter and sugar.

But the star of the show is the crust. Jeanne Jacobson, also known as the “Dough Princess,” is the sister in charge of crusts.

Jeanne says she got the crust gene from her mother, Dickey, who had very high standards.

“When we first started out making pies, we sampled several pies and my mom didn’t like any of them,” Jeanne Jacobson said. “Nothing was close to her own pie, so she just worked with it and worked with it and finally came up with a good recipe,” Jeanne Jacobson said.

To be sure, the Jacobson kids do lots of testing.

“I mean, there’s always quality control. You gotta keep testing them!” Bill Jacobson said. “We don’t sell anything we don’t think is just perfect.”

That attention to detail was passed down by Dickey. While no family is perfect, the Jacobson siblings are saving perfection for their apple pies.

Pine Tree Apple Orchard is open daily through February and weekends in March.

There’s a lot for kids to do, and right now they have pumpkins for picking, too.

Click here to visit their website.

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