10 Lesser-Known Cider Mills and Orchards across Michigan

Michigan orchards and cider mills bring back nostalgia of playing in leaves and haystacks, eating doughnuts or spending the day with family. Bring those feelings back by visiting a nearby cider mill, while also supporting local farmers! We hope you can use this list of lesser-known cider mills to start your own fall tradition or just try somewhere new! To find even more orchards near you, click here

Diehl’s Orchard & Cider Mill
Holly, MI

Family-owned and operated, Diehl’s Orchard & Cider Mill opened in 1954 to help families have lasting memories together. The mill is open daily through October and on the weekends in November. Located off a dirt road, it gives off an up north vibe in Southeast Michigan. The orchard is the perfect place to create autumn traditions and enjoy time together while viewing beautiful fall foliage. With a corn maze, petting farm, playground, an orchard and a hayride, there are so many activities to keep you and your family or friends busy. Not to mention between all of the apples, cider, doughnuts, jams and honey, it’ll be hard to choose just one item. You might end up bringing them all home!

Anderson & Girls Orchards/Gifts
Stanton, MI

Located in Mid-Michigan, this orchard is complete with a farm market, bakery, ice cream parlor and gift loft. The cider mill operates through Dec. 1. What’s incredibly interesting about this orchard is that there are barnyard animals like reindeer, camels, zebras, lemurs and more! This alone is worth the trip as kids will love to see and interact with these incredibly diverse animals that are rarely seen in Michigan, outside of zoos. Don’t miss Great Pumpkin Day on Oct. 22 where you can pick your own pumpkins, ride in a wagon or on a camel and participate in Kid’s Town.

Hayes Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch
Rock, MI

Have a great time in the U.P. with your family and friends through Oct. 30 at Hayes Corn Maze & Pumpkin Patch, only open on the weekends. There is no shortage of activities here so you won’t ever get bored! Of course, hit the corn or hay maze, take a hay ride, participate in the photo contest, visit the pumpkin tree house with kids or sit around a campfire and relax. Come home with a huge pumpkin as a souvenir from your visit.

Photo Courtesy of Rowin Mulder

Photo Courtesy of Rowin Mulder

Erie Orchards & Cider Mill
Erie, MI

This orchard is located in the very southeastern corner of Michigan, near Ohio. This is a great place for a family outing. Don’t miss Kids Weekend on Oct. 8 and 9 where there will be child entertainment and magic shows, corn mazes, bonfires, a craft show and pony rides. Approximately 15,000 bushels of apples are harvested annually off 30 acres of apple trees. The varieties include Ida Red, Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Golden and Red Delicious and more. Be sure to check the website for information on each themed weekend in October. And set up a tour today!

Knaebe’s Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Farm
Rogers City, MI

With a very interesting name, this Northern Michigan orchard is open Thursday through Sunday until Nov. 6. There are a ton of food and drink options, but be aware the bakery tends to sell out! Call ahead and place an order if there is something specific you’re looking to buy on your visit. A few for-sale items include homemade pies, doughnuts with bacon, apple and maple flavorings, apple crisp, apple cream cheese cake and a doughnut sundae! For first-timers, take a self-guided tour of the farm or get on a horse-drawn carriage ride or, for the kids, a pony ride. Don’t miss the tasting room featuring Twisted Roots Cider. Local hot dogs, brats and pizza are served as well.

Photo Courtesy of Amy Lijewski

Photo Courtesy of Amy Lijewski

The Jollay Orchards Farms
Coloma, MI

Jollay Orchards is open daily in Southwest Michigan. The Jollay family has been perfecting the craft of growing fruit since 1857! Jump on a hayride heading to the U-pick orchards which are well-maintained and manicured making it easy to choose your favorite apples among the many varieties grown. You can also visit the Farm Market for apple pies baked in brown paper bags and lots of other Michigan-made treats like jams, BBQ sauces and dumplings. Enjoy a stroll through the Animal Farm or Cornfield Maze, cast your line in the Fishing Pond or let the kids enjoy the playground area. The possibilities are endless!

Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill
Ada, MI

Based in West Michigan, Sietsema Orchards was founded on the outskirts of Grand Rapids in 1934. Occasionally this location provides Farm to Table dinners, so be sure to regularly check the website to participate in those. They also create four different types of hard cider and just released a new one called Maggie’s Reserve. Proceeds from sales of Maggie’s Reserve will benefit Mercy Health Birth Center at Saint Mary’s. Contribute to a great cause while also having fun! Another reason to visit is to gather an amazing variety of apples and pumpkins.

Friske Orchards Farm Market
Ellsworth, MI

Since 1962, Friske Orchards Farm Market has been a family tradition in Northwest Michigan. The orchard grows and harvests approximately 5.5 million pounds of fresh Michigan fruit and produce annually and about 50,000 gallons of premium apple cider blends. It is open year around, bringing you their high-quality fruit and handcrafted specialty food products. Be sure to check out the Fruit Stand, Orchard Cafe, Old World Bakery, General Store, Country Haus Gift Shop, the seasonal children’s Orchard Playland and Barnyard Animal Petting Zoo, presenting options for everyone. Apple Fest Days are occurring Oct. 8 and 15 and are full of fun activities.

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Uncle John’s Cider Mill
St. Johns, MI

Located in Mid-Michigan, Uncle John’s is a local favorite. Back in the 1900’s the mill was used as a cattle barn, but now has been converted into a cider press and doughnut shop. Uncle John’s has won awards for their fresh cider and hard apple cider. Go visit and explore the five-acre corn maze, take a free wagon ride, visit the pumpkin patch or walk the nature trail. There are a ton of fun festivities happening this fall including Food Truck Friday, live music, inflatables and young children amusement rides. Don’t forget about their Cidery and Winery Tasting Room where you can try hard ciders, fruit wines and apple-flavored spirits. Note that they do not offer pick-your-own apples. A visit to this cider mill will be the trip of the season for your family or friends.

The Fruitful Orchard and Cider Mill
Gladwin, MI

This Mid-Michigan orchard will make for a perfect day trip. Open Monday through Saturday, the location offers cider slushies, made-from-scratch baked goods like cinnamon rolls, salsa and sauces as well as candles and gifts. Visit the observation area to see cider pressing in action. Be sure to call ahead to see what time the next press will occur. There are hay ride tours on Saturdays and a pumpkin patch where you can choose your next jack-o-lantern or to make pumpkin pie at home!

Where is your favorite cider mill or orchard? Let us know in the comments!

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?