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?

From Our Fans: 18 Favorite Fall Traditions in Pure Michigan

Happy first day of fall! Brisk autumn air and vibrant fall foliage have arrived in Pure Michigan. The changing of the seasons holds a special meaning to everyone, and many Michiganders have created unique traditions to help them welcome and celebrate fall. We asked our fans on Facebook and Twitter to share theirs.

Here’s a roundup of just some the fantastic fall traditions our fans hold near and dear. 

Making apple butter, eating hot foods like chili, stew, soup again, wearing hoodies, decorating inside and outside with autumn things, smelling and feeling the crisp fall air. - Cathleen Lechowicz
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Picking fresh Michigan apples, taking one last camping trip and eating hot soup. - Donna M. Tardiff

Going to the cider mill to get cinnamon doughnuts. Yummy! - Deborah Buoncompagno

A trip to the farmers market, a stay on Mackinac Island, bonfires with marshmallows and fall color drives on the back roads. - Kerri Tang

Cider and donuts, pumpkins, fall color tours, trips up north, bonfires, hikes, farm days at Greenfield Village, first pot of chili, apple pie with apples from the orchard. - Shelly Bahr

My husband and I go camping with our son, daughter in law and two grandsons. The whole family goes to the cider mill together. Cider, doughnuts, hiking. It’s great. I love fall! - Lori Sikora

Pumpkin and apple pies, orange pumpkins and yellow mums on the porch, soups, stews, flannel shirts, down vests, boots, jeans and the smell of fallen leaves in the cool dusky evenings. - Lisa Hadden

Opening duck season with family. - Kyle Ransom

Photo by Dine Clark near Verona Township

Photo by Dine Clark near Verona Township

Crunching leaves on the trails.  Thanksgiving with my family – When the turkey is finished, we all watch the Lions vs. Packers game. - CaSondra Maass

Going to Treetops in Gaylord and taking in almost 360 degree view of Autumns splendor. - Kathy Brisbin Wagner

Canoeing down the river and fishing while the leaves float by! - Phillip Olt

I can’t forget Historic Bowens Mills for caramel apples, hot apple dumplings, and other treats. A great place to relax and enjoy a peaceful afternoon. - Ken Blum

Taking a trip down the Dowagiac River to see the fall colors. - Steph Bliss

Apple picking at Crane Orchards with my grandchildren, then making applesauce for the freezer. - Cinde Heston

Photo courtesy of Johnson's Giant Pumpkin Farm

Photo courtesy of Johnson’s Giant Pumpkins

Bell’s Brewery’s Best Brown Ale, Johnson’s Giant Pumpkin Farm, and Southern Michigan Railroad’s Fall Color Tour! - Paul McKellip

Visiting BlakeFarms is a must. #Fall. – Twitter user @DonnaMargara84

Evening walks in the crisp fall air, bonfires, decorating for Halloween, Witches Brew wine from Leelanau cellars. – Twitter user @JaimieMae1222

Taking friends up to Tahquamenon Falls. Can’t wait to be up north! – Twitter user @JandiPrich

What are your favorite ways to celebrate the fall season in Pure Michigan? 

8 Ways to Celebrate Fall in Michigan

Today, guest blogger Hayley Serr of The Awesome Mitten gives us 8 ways to celebrate the fall season in Michigan. 

Photo by Instagram user @laurenweber84

As the temperature begins its steady decline and we pack away our swimsuits and beach towels for the year, Michigan embarks on its glorious transition into autumn. Our great state is, without question, the best place to enjoy the splendor of fall. From the beautiful colors of changing leaves to the delicious crisp crunch of Michigan apples to the spectacle of the Thanksgiving day parade, there are so many things to enjoy this fall in the mitten. Here are eight items that should definitely be included on your autumn to-do list.

Take a trip to a cider mill. Cider mill trips are such a staple of the season that it almost seems like this is a given. However, this wouldn’t be a fall to-do list without a mention of cider mills. Many offer much more than cider and donuts, too. Pack a basket and a blanket, pick up some traditional treats, and enjoy a picnic in the crisp fall air. Or head to a cider mill with an apple orchard to pick some some fresh apples for munching. Since many locations also boast hayrides, corn mazes, and more, a trip to the cider mill is much more than just an excuse to eat donuts.

If you fancy something stronger than cider, pick up some seasonal craft beer. Or better yet, host a tasting party! Michigan’s craft beer industry is booming, so there is no shortage of delicious autumn brews. Pick up an Arbor Brewing Company Oktoberfest, a New Holland Ichabod Pumpkin Ale, a Short’s Funkin’ Punkin, a Detroit Beer Company Oktoberfest, or any of the other great seasonal picks from your favorite Michigan breweries and invite some friends over to try them out. Offer assorted cheese options and pads of paper to take notes if you want to make it a more traditional tasting party, or just put out some munchies and enjoy some good conversation and great beer with friends. (For you non-beer-drinkers, remember that it’s harvest time for Michigan wine so you don’t have to miss out on the fun!)

Get into the Halloween spirit with some happy hauntings. With October 31st fast approaching, there are plenty of events to get you in the mood for the holiday. For those in the Southeast Michigan area (especially with little ones), the Zoo Boo is a perennial favorite. Throw on a costume and head to the Detroit Zoo for entertainment, games, and general trick-or-treating merriment amongst the animals. Also in the metro-Detroit area is the Greenfield Village Hallowe’en event; patrons will be surrounded by Greenfield Village spirits, treat stations, colorful characters, and thousands of jack-o-laterns for a 20th century Hallowe’en experience. (Watch out for the Headless Horseman!)

Or for those looking for a little more trick than treat, get psyched for Halloween with a zombie hunt. Taking the interactive experience to a whole new level, locations such as Blake Farms in Armada, Darksyde Acres in Jonesville, the Haunted Farm of Terror in Lenox Township, and TC Paintball in Lansing offer patrons the ability to test their preparation for the zombie apocalypse by taking down the undead. Gear up and take aim with these live action zombie hunts if you dare.

Visit a fall-themed festival. Whether you have a hankering for film, an appetite for chili, or are clamouring for good music, there is a Michigan festival for you. From the Mackinac Island Halloween Weekend celebration, to the Frankfort Film Festival, to the Blues & Brews Festival in Adrian, to the Peak2Peak Mountain Festival at Crystal Mountain there is an event for every taste this season.

Tailgate! Whether you’re a Wolverine or a Spartan, November 2nd is THE gameday for college football fans in the state of Michigan. East Lansing will host the inner state rivals for what is bound to be one of the greatest games of the year. If college sports aren’t your thing, autumn is still chock full of great sporting events. Head to Detroit to tailgate for a Lion’s game, hit a Wings game the Joe, or cheer the Tigers on to ALCS (and hopefully World Series) victory.

Head to Detroit for the Thanksgiving Day Parade. As the theme of this year’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is “Downtown Our Town,” the celebration will not only be of Thanksgiving, but also of the great city of Detroit and of Michigan. Be one of the hundreds of thousands of people who gather to celebrate together and watch one of the nation’s oldest Thanksgiving traditions. For those who’d rather enjoy the spectacle from the comfort of home, tune into the live broadcast on Thanksgiving morning at 9 a.m.

Take a fall foliage tour. Our great state is, without a doubt, one of the most picturesque, beautiful places in the nation. This is especially true when it comes to witnessing the changing of the seasons. Whether you’re heading to the coastline, cruising down I-75, walking the trail, or paddling down one of Michigan’s rivers, the spectacle of colors that autumn brings is best enjoyed from anywhere right here in the mitten.

What will you be doing to celebrate the season this year?

 

 

 Hayley SerrHayley Serr writes for The Awesome Mitten and works for Hour Detroit magazine. Born and raised in metro-Detroit, this Spartan alumna relishes any opportunity to explore and share all of the wonderful things there are to do in Michigan. Aside from exploring the mitten, Hayley loves spending time with her family, cooking, and curling up on the couch with a good book.