Get Your Fall Fix at These Michigan Cider Mills and Orchards

Whether your preference is tart and tangy, crisp and crunchy, or sweet and juicy, there’s  a Michigan apple variety to satisfy all taste buds. Many apple aficionados prefer Michigan Honeycrisp and Jonagold for their crisp bite and distinctive flavor, while Fuji and Gala are usually enjoyed fresh. Either way, you can’t go wrong by taking a bite into a Michigan apple this fall!

 So where will you take your first sip or bite this fall? Check out our roundup of all things apple.

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The Orchards – where U-Pick!

Westview Orchards and Adventure Farm is a 188-acre award- winning family farm and orchard. Located 45 minutes north of Detroit, the orchard features a Farm Market open 8-6 daily, June through December 24th, with homegrown fruits and fall vegetables, fresh bakery items, honey, apple cider, and more. The famous U-Pick open with cherries in late June through mid-July, peaches in early August through Labor Day, apples in late August through end of October, and pumpkins in late September through end of October. Make sure you don’t leave without picking up one of Westview’s signature “flips” or pies!

Take a fall trip to see the colors and make a stop at Miller’s Big Red Apple Orchard. Miller’s U-Pick includes apples, pumpkins, raspberries and strawberries. The pies, breads, jams and jellies are made fresh from scratch with all home grown ingredients. Miller’s Big Red invites you and your family to let them show you what fall is all about in the orchard.

Photo courtesy of Facebook fan Davey Robinson

Photo courtesy of Facebook fan Davey Robinson

Crane Orchards and Corn Maze Today, aside from producing almost all of the fruit that the Pie Pantry needs for its fruit desserts and apple cider, Crane Orchards is one of the finest u-pick orchards in Michigan. With over 15 different varieties of apples, peaches and sweet cherries for the discriminating u-picker to choose from, the scenery is breath taking. When your basket is full, get lost in a 15-acre family-friendly Corn Maze! Hayrides are offered to visitors in the fall after a long day of u-picking and maze navigating.

At Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill in Armada, enjoy apple and pumpkin picking, train or hay rides, Barnyard Funland and animal farm, and cider & donuts on your visit to the country. You can even pick your own strawberries, asparagus, raspberries, pears and tomatoes. Blake’s also features dwarf fruit trees and thousands of Christmas trees mid November thru December 23rd!

Nestled in rolling hills dotted with farms, Alber’s Orchard and Cider Mill near Manchester has been in business since 1890. View an old fashioned cider press, enjoy the freshest ice cold cider around.

The Cider Mills

The Historic Dexter Cider Mill near Ann Arbor is the oldest continuously operating cider mill in Michigan. Today, the cider mill keeps its more than 120-year old cider making tradition by using an oak rack press and blending three to five different locally grown apple varieties in every pressing.

The Franklin Cider Mill opened in 1832 and has been serving hungry, and thirsty, customers since. The mill happy sells many fresh products, including fresh-pressed cider, hot donuts, freshly baked pies and caramel and candy apples made at the mill. Franklin also offers some of the tastiest smoked been and cheese varieties around!

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Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills has been water-powered since 1863, and presses 300 gallons of fresh blended apple cider per hour. Visitors can also indulge in fresh donuts, apple pies, fudge, apple crisp, jams, and more.  including freshly pressed cider, hot donuts, freshly baked pies and caramel and candy apples made on at the mill. Franklin also offers smoked beef and many varieties of cheese.

Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill specializes in fresh apple cider, donuts and caramel apples. The mill also has a winery available for wine tasting.

During a visit to Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. John’s, visit the bakery and enjoy fresh baked pies, breads, cookies and pastries. Before you leave, check out the gift shop and sample some wines in the tasting room. Finally, take a leisurely stroll through 1.5 mile scenic groomed nature trail.

Vander Mill is a cider mill and winery that serves the greater West Michigan area. The winery specializes in hard Ciders and apple wines, and is an active participant in  local farmers markets offering fresh cider, hot cider, fresh donuts, fresh baked pies, homemade fudge, homemade cinnamon roasted almonds, and Michigan preserves, salsas and sauces.

These are just a few of the many orchards and cider mills in Michigan. Do you have a favorite to add to the list? 

Michigan Apple Fun Facts

Think Michigan apples and cider are merely tasty fall treats? Think again! See what these fantastic fruits mean to the state’s economy…and your health!

 There are more than 9.2 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 36,500 acres on 850 family-run farms in Michigan.

Michigan apples are available August through June each year, thanks to atmosphere-controlled storage.

In 2013, Michigan harvested an estimated 30 million bushels (1.26 billion pounds) of apples.

The Michigan Honeycrisp’s popularity makes it hard for apples growers to keep up with demand.

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Michigan slices more apples than any other state for use in pies and fresh cut slices and also processes apples into applesauce, fresh and shelf-stable apple cider and apple juice.

There are five regions in the state of Michigan related to apple orchard tours. These regions are: northwest, southeast, central west, central east and southwest.

Michigan apples offer a variety of benefits that contribute to a healthy diet. These benefits include reducing the risk of Type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke, cancer and heart disease.

On average, Michigan apples only contain 80 calories.

Learn more about Michigan apples in the video below.

Now that you know Michigan apples are both delicious and a huge part of the state’s agriculture, where will you go first?

15 Reasons to Love Fall in Michigan

15 Reasons to Love Fall in MichiganFall is upon us! And it’s the perfect time of year to enjoy hot Michigan apple cider, breathe in the brisk autumn air, and admire the vibrant changing colors on the trees above.  

The beginning of the fall season holds a special and unique meaning to everyone, so we asked fans on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ why they love the fall season in Pure Michigan. 

Below is a roundup of just some of our favorite responses from fans. If yours is missing, tell us in the comments section below what fall in Michigan means to you!

“The colors of course – not just the trees, but the sky and the way the angle of the sun makes everything come into more beautiful focus!” -Ellen Schettling Whitehead

“September and October are the best months of the year. Cool, crisp air at night yet still warm during the day. Football! It just has a nice feeling to it.” –Shane Weller

“The crunch of the leaves under my feet with the amazing spectrum of colors and smells of cider and cozy fires in fireplaces.” – Alessandra Kellerman

“Taking the family to Yates Cider Mill.” – KeMira Hurt

Color tours no matter where you look.” – Marilyn Cooley McQueen

“Long winding drives down fall colored tree lined 2-lane roads to my favorite cider mill!” – Tracy Smith Fenton

“Autumn’s splendor-colors, crisp, clean pure Michigan air, fresh apple cider in my cup and a bag of just-picked apples next to me at an orchard hayride with my family surrounding me.” – Ramona Mitchell

“Apple picking at Spicer’s and apple cider!” – Ann Mamo

“Everything! The weather, the colors, the apples, the cider & donuts, bonfires, S’mores, cuddling up with your sweetie in front of a fire on a cool autumn night. I can go on…” – Carol Hagen

“The smell of burning leaves, the fresh crisp air, trips to the cider mill and the last trip of the year to Mackinac Island.” –Holli Thurston

“Acres of colours in the trees. (And my dad saying, ‘Look at the view, kids; look at the view!’)” – Del Del Zoppo

“Kayaking on the Muskegon.” –Jean Christie

“The cool air, the beautiful colors on the leaves, the way the leaves crinkle under my feet, being able to wear long sleeve shirts and jeans, going for a walk outside, the smells that surround you while you are breathing in the air.” –TinaMaria Martell

Apple Charlie’s Cider Mill. A family tradition since I was a kid. The rule was we could have any pumpkin we could carry.” –Erica Burkeen

“Jeans, boots, sweaters and fires!” –Shawn Coyle McFall

Why do you love fall in Michigan? 

Pure Michigan Cider Mills

One of Michigan’s most popular fall activities is attending cider mills.  Between the cider, doughnuts, apple picking, hayrides and corn mazes, cider mills are sure to provide a fun-filled fall day for you and your family.  Below we have featured five cider mills located throughout the state.  Grab your family and friends, and enjoy this Pure Michigan fall at one of the many Michigan cider mills or orchards.

For a complete list of Michigan cider mills, visit michigan.org.

Blake Farms – Armada  

Voted the number one apple orchard in Michigan by AAA authorities, Blake Farms was one of the very first “Pick Your Own” orchards in Michigan. Currently, Blakes has three locations that are comprised of 500 acres of orchard and farmland.  Whether you pick-your-own apples, sip on some of their award winning apple cider, enjoy a hayride, or wander their cornfield mazes, there is plenty of fall fun to be had at Blake Farms.

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery – Grand Rapids

This Grand Rapid’s Apple Haus features apples, as well as peaches, nectarines and cherries. Fall attractions include a corn maze, horse-drawn hayrides, and u-pick apples. In addition to their apple haus, Robinette’s has a winery, a 5.25 biking trail, and cross-country skiing. There is something for every member of the family to enjoy at Robinette’s.

Uncle John’s Cider Mill – Saint Johns

Uncle John’s is well known for its cider mill, which serves fresh cider and doughnuts. Already picked apples are also available for purchase. Uncle John’s has many activities for families to take part in, such as a pumpkin patch, fruit fling, wagon rides, corn maze and even a mining company where visitors are able to mine their own gemstones.   

Friske Orchards – Ellsworth

In 2011, Friske Orchards was voted the number one “U-Pick” farm in Northern Michigan by Traverse Magazine.  While at Friske’s you can choose to pick your own fruit, shop the general store, or attend one of their many festive events such as the Apple Festival or Fall Fun Saturdays. Other activities include: guided wagon rides, orchard walks, farm animal petting zoo, large kids playground and an old-world bakery.

Yates Cider Mill – Rochester Hills

Yates Cider Mill, which is located in Rochester Hills, has been featured on the Food Network for its apple cider.  While at Yates, visitors can choose to visit the cider mill, ice cream shoppe, fudge shoppe, or all three! Family activities include pony rides, a petting zoo and river walk. Enjoy cider, donuts, caramel apples, homemade and jarred goods at Yates this fall.

Which Michigan cider mill is your favorite? Share with us below!