The arrival of cool, crisp fall weather pours color onto the trees in our city, signaling that the autumn has arrived, and the apple orchards are open. Fall is the perfect time of year to visit an apple orchard. The fruit is at its prime, with apple tree branches laden with fruit hanging low to the ground, waiting to be picked.
Cider presses are in full swing, pumping out freshly-squeezed cider from round shining apples. The scent of sugar entices hungry apple pickers towards hot cinnamon sugar donuts, just out of a steaming hot bath that brings them floating to the surface, ready to be dusted with a flurry of sweet sugar. Pumpkins are lined up in rows in fields, just waiting to be selected, and taken to your Ann Arbor home, to be carved into a jack-o-lantern for its shining moment later this month. There are several apple orchards in the greater Ann Arbor area:
Wiard's Cider Mill and Apple Orchard
5565 Merritt Rd.
Wiard's Cider Mill and Apple Orchard was founded in Michigan by George Wiard in 1853, and offers u-pick apples and pumpkins, a corn maze, and hayrides. The orchard also has an apple cannon, giant inflates, pony rides, a petting farm, miniature golf, straw mountain, haunted barn, Hippty-Hop Bunny Village, and multiple children’s play areas.
The Country Store and Bakery featuring delicious cider mill Michigan, donuts, fresh baked pies, and old-fashioned goodies. Wiard’s “Night Terrors” features 6 attractions: the Haunted Barn, The Asylum, The Labyrinth, The Mindshaft , Hayrides of the Lost, and Alien Caged Clowns.
Alber Orchard & Cider Mill
13011 Bethel Church Road Manchester
The land that Alber Orchard sits on was deeded in 1832 by President Andrew Jackson, and acquired by John Alber in 1881 to operate as an orchard and cider mill. Today's owners, Mike and Therese Bossory, are preserving the centennial orchard, gazebo, barns, and cider press, for use as a fun family destination. Enjoy sampling delicious goodies, including cider donuts, caramel apples, pretzels, and a great selection of apple products, including apple butter and apple jam. Try the specially blended apple cider, pressed on site with the cider press and poured to your glass or jug. The orchard offers many heirloom varieties of apples no longer available in grocery stores. Alber’s offers horse-drawn hayrides, corn maze, a you-pick pumpkin patch, kids play area, tours of the vintage cider press, fall events and entertainment, and delicious, crisp heirloom and family favorite apples.
Dexter Cider Mill
58 Cavanaugh Lake Road Dexter
The Dexter Cider Mill is the oldest continuously operating Cider Mill in Michigan, and was cited by "Hour Detroit" magazine as one of the 101 places to visit in the greater Metropolitan area. Cider is made the same way it was made 120 years ago using an oak rack press with locally grown and hand picked apples, blending 3-5 different varieties in every pressing, which makes each press unique. The equipment used to press the cider is over 100 years old. Along with cider, the mill offers fresh apples, and from the bakery, doughnuts, caramel apples and apple nut bread. On weekends, they offer home made apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers, and hand rolled gingersnaps. Also available are a number of apple related products, including frozen slushies (apple sauce through a straw), jellies, apple butter, boiled cider, natural and vinegar related products, barbecue sauces, mustards and pickled asparagus, and several locally-grown products, such as popcorn and various flavors of packaged soybeans.
Wasam Fruit Farm
6580 Judd Road
Wasem Fruit Farm is a family-owned and family-oriented orchard in rural southeastern Michigan, located between Ypsilanti and Milan in Washtenaw County. The fruit farm features pick-your-own apples, pumpkins, and tart cherries; homemade, unpasteurized cider; and delicious fresh donuts made daily during the autumn season. Wasems also grows a variety of other produce, including red and black currants, gooseberries, peaches, plums, pears, and fall raspberries, all of which they sell in season at the Ann Arbor Farmers' Market.
Image courtesy Flickr: pipnstuff