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.


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!

Detroit Jazz Festival Brings Amazing Music, Fireworks to the Heart of Downtown Detroit

Detroit may be known for Motown, but each Labor Day weekend for the past 34 years the sounds of world-class jazz takes over Downtown Detroit. Today, Chris Collins, artistic director for the Detroit Jazz Festival fills us in on what’s in store for the four-day festival that starts Friday.

Q: Can you tell us more about the Detroit Jazz Festival and your role?

A: The Detroit Jazz Festival is a really a cultural tour-de-force for Detroit region and throughout the jazz world. It’s the world’s largest free jazz festival and was recently voted by JazzTimes magazine readers as the one of the top two festivals in North America. Every Labor Day for 34 years running, this festival has brought some of the greats of this true American art form to the heart of Detroit for four days of music on four stages, three in Hart Plaza and one in Campus Martius. The festival attracts more than 100,000 people over four days and nearly 25 percent are from out of state, and we have an economic impact in the tens of millions, so it’s a cultural and economic driver for Southeast Michigan

While the festival weekend is our most visible event, many people don’t realize that the Detroit Jazz Festival is a year-round happening. We have events throughout the year such as a Duke Ellington tribute with saxophonist James Carter, a Detroit native, at the Fillmore last March; our Detroit Divas Sing Sing Sing event annually at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe which is tonight, Aug. 23; and then our Nov. 2 event at Orchestra Hall featuring world-renown saxophonist Wayne Shorter, with Grammy-winner Esperanza Spalding, and the DSO. These are events that are designed to keep the spirit of the festival prevalent throughout the year.

Q: What can visitors expect at this year’s festival?

A: So this year once again, we have a world-class lineup. Opening night is the Macy Gray with the David Murray Big Band and the Danilo Pérez Panama 500. On Sat., Sun. and Mon. we go from around noon until 11 p.m. Saturday headliners are McCoy Tyner and the Sax Summit with Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Ravi Coltrane; Sunday is Ahmad Jamal and John Scofield Überjam and Monday is “MILES SMILES“ featuring Wallace Roney, Larry Coryell, Rick Margitza, Ralphe Armstrong, and Alphonse Mouzon, and Joshua Redman Quartet. In addition we have 250-plus local musicians playing including high school and college bands. So, there’s a little something for everyone including late-night jam sessions at the Marriott at the Renaissance Center from 11 p.m. until the wee hours. Beyond the music, there’s great food and art and on Saturday and Sunday nights, we have fireworks on the Detroit River after the last performance. All in all, there are a slew of great activities.

Q: Are there any “can’t miss” performances this year?

A: Well, again, the headliners are out of this world. To put it in context, these are people you would pay hundreds of dollars to see at say, Lincoln Center in New York City. So these are must-dos. But, this year one of the focuses of the festival is one-of-a-kind tributes that you can’t see anywhere else like a Teddy Harris, Jr. tribute by the New Breed Be Bop Society, a tribute to Stan Kenton featuring The Four Freshmen and the Toledo Jazz Orchestra and the four-performance Detroit Jazz Festival Tribute to the late, great Dave Brubeck featuring the Brubeck Brothers.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for other things to see and do while visitors are in town for the festival?

A: Well, Detroit is really so alive right now. Opportunity Detroit is a new sponsor and we couldn’t be happier because our mission and theirs align – and that is to continue to make Detroit a city of promise. So, our festival has a full-days’ worth of wonderful music, but outside there are many other things to do. We often tell people that they can’t go wrong by spending a morning at Eastern Market, or heading over to the Motown Museum or the Detroit Institute of Arts. For those that want more flavor for the neighborhoods of Detroit, Corktown has a slew of interesting restaurants, refurbished houses and a funky vibe that resonates. And, of course because of my role as director of Jazz Studies at Wayne State University, I would be remiss not to mention all the Cultural Center and university areas have much to offer.

Q: Where can people go to learn more about the festival?

A: The best place is the web site at www.detroitjazzfest.com, where you can find complete schedules, maps and details on all the activities.

Learn more about the Detroit Jazz Festival and other happenings around the state on michigan.org. Let us know if you’ll be attending the festival in the comments below!

In addition to being the artistic director of the Detroit Jazz Festival, Chris Collins is a professional jazz woodwind player, and professor and director of jazz studies at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit. Collins has been involved with the Detroit Jazz Festival, first as a student and then as a Detroit artist, for 30 years. Originally from Detroit, he began playing the saxophone and clarinet at the age of 10. In addition to his solo career, Collins has played professionally with artists including the Phil Collins Big Band, Doc Severinsen, Mel Torme, Michael Feinstein, Lou Rawls and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Family Fun at Cheeseburger in Caseville

Michigan is home to a ton of festivals year-round, but one of the most unique may just the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival! Held every August as a tribute to Jimmy Buffett and delicious cheeseburgers, the festival is all about having fun in the sun whether you’re 8 years old or 88! This year’s event is happening now through next Sunday, August 18.

Below, festival chairman Steve Lowers answers on our questions on the annual event.

Q. Can you tell us more about your role in Cheeseburger in Caseville?

A. I have been president of the Caseville Chamber of Commerce for 10 years and am also Chairman of the Cheeseburger Festival.  I am just one of the many volunteers that help to put the festival together and am involved in the overall planning of the event including scheduling the bands and details of events throughout the festival.

Q. The festival is now in its 15th year; are there any new additions?

A. Some of the new events this year include a larger kid’s day and a book signing by “Michigan Killers” author Jonathan Rand. Throughout the festival we have several new kids’ events. We also are bringing back the popular laser light show and have some new bands that will be taking the stages.

Q. Since the festival’s start, it has definitely grown throughout the years. Can you tell us more about the history of the festival?

A. The festival has grown a lot since it all started in 1999. The first year it was only a three day festival and now lasts 10 days. When I took over as Chairman 10 years ago we decided to expand and because three days just wasn’t enough time. The attendance has also jumped each year; the first year of the festival we sold 300 buttons for $3.00 and last year we sold over 10,000 buttons for $10 apiece. Each year thousands descend on our small town for 10 days of fun.

Q. Cheeseburger has won several “Michigan Fun Awards,” what makes the festival so deserving of these awards?

A. We are a really creative bunch! We really enjoy planning the festival and take a lot of pride in the community and the festival. I believe that a group of decision makers is better than one and it shows in the festival.

Q. What other activities can festivalgoers do in Caseville outside of the festival?

A. Caseville has beautiful beaches, great golf courses, lots of campgrounds and some really great shops.

Q. Just for fun, can you tell us what would be on your perfect burger?

A. I really like blue cheese so for me it would have to be one of the black and blue burgers that some of the vendors sell. A black and blue burger is a cajun seasoned burger loaded with blue cheese.

Q. What’s the most surprising thing you have learned or seen working in this event?

A. I’ve learned that there is a fine line between a festival and a party. A festival involves ages 1-100 and a party is for adults, through the years we have prided ourselves on remaining a great festival. Our festival is one of the best and biggest in Michigan because it is so family oriented. That’s why I do it!

Q. Where can you go to learn more about the festival?

A. Visit www.casevillechamber.net, the Caseville Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page or take a listen to the radio show below!

Steve Lowers is the President and Chairman of Caseville Area Chamber of Commerce and Chairman of the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival. For more information about events going on across Pure Michigan visit michigan.org/events.