It’s back, open for the season a bit earlier than usual, and guess what? It’s even more giant than it ever was.
Technically, it’s Jim’s Apple Farm, which just happens to also sell candy. Yes, you can buy apples and baked apple goodies here too. But let’s be honest: We’re here for the refined sugar.
And now there’s even more to choose from. During the off season (the store closes for the winter after Thanksgiving), the owners added an enormous dome with a planetarium / sci-fi theme (also a giant Incredible Hulk). Dr. Who’s Tardis (below) isn’t new, but it’s been moved from a quiet corner to center stage, where it’s surrounded by nearly countless quantities of flavored cotton candy, upscale marshmallows, Japanese mochi, gummy pizza, and gravy candy. In keeping with the rest of the store, the dome has a wild mix of everything from retro to upscale candies, both domestic and imported.
Why expand? Staff told us that the owners love the store, and in lieu of things like traveling, they pour the proceeds back into the venture, trying to make it even more fun and worth visiting. Mission accomplished: The domed addition has a ceiling that spins slowly, and as the summer goes on, a number of new items will be added to the spinning sky painting, including items from various sci-fi shows, including Star Wars and Star Trek.
However, while the dome is the most noticeable change, it’s not the only one. The front of the store was expanded, too, providing employees with an airy, glassed-in addition to do their important candy-sorting and -pricing work. The center of the store used to have several short rows of tables with wares on display, but now there are three rows running lengthwise down the store, which should make for easier navigation during busy times. The store has always sold lots of jigsaw puzzles, and now there’s a special place for them: Jim’s Puzzle Closet.
Those jigsaw puzzles are sometimes turned into works of art and displayed in an unlikely spot. Staff urged us to check out the updated bathrooms, which admittedly didn’t sound all that exciting, especially when they’re fronted by “Porta-Pottie” doors.
But — spoiler alert — the doors are a bit of a practical joke; once past them, shoppers will find arguably the nicest public restrooms along Highway 169, with walls adorned with completed, complex jigsaw puzzles in elaborate frames.
Lots of changes, but one thing remains the same: The store has no telephone. But it’s open every day from now through Thanksgiving weekend. Time for a road trip.
Jim’s Apple Farm and candy store, 20430 Johnson Memorial Drive, Jordan, MN 55352. Open daily 9 a.m.-7 p.m.