A taste of autumn – at a nearby cider mill
ILLUSTRATION BY VICTOR MINOLTA
Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill, Plymouth http://plymouthorchards.com (734) 455-2290 Distance from WCC: 7.7 miles Plymouth Orchards is located on a property with history. The original operation was opened in 1977 on Warren Road. The road-side business sat on the front of a historic dairy farm and 60 acres of land. Since then, the land has been revamped to include a cider mill, pressroom and stockroom that churn out thousands of gallons of natural cider and dozens of fresh doughnuts in order to fill the needs of clamoring customers during the fall season. The orchard offers scenic wagon rides throughout its property. A U-Pick pumpkin patch and 16 varieties of dwarf apple trees compliment the landscape and serve as an activity for mill visitors. Don’t forget to check out the petting farm during your visit; the corrals hold goats, chickens and horses for eager hands to pet and feed.
Wasem Fruit Farm, Milan http://wasemfruitfarm.com (734) 482-2342 Distance from WCC: 8.6 miles Wasem Fruit Farm is both family-owned and family-oriented. The farm allows visitors to pick their own apples, pumpkins and tart cherries. The owners grow seasonal produce, including: red and black currants, gooseberries, peaches, plums, pears and raspberries. All of these items are sold fresh at the Ann Arbor Famers’ Market. The cider mill portion of the farm produces unpasteurized cider and doughnuts that are made daily during the autumn season.
Dexter Cider Mill, Dexter http://dextercidermill.com (734) 426-8531 Distance from WCC: 12.1 miles The Dexter Cider Mill is recognized as the oldest continuously operating cider mill in Michigan according to Pure Michigan, Michigan’s Travel and Tourism Web site. The owners boast that they make their cider the same way it was produced 120 years ago. This process uses an oak rack press and locally grown, hand-picked apples. Three to five different varieties of apples are used in each press to create a unique taste. In addition to the natural cider, the mill also produces fresh doughnuts, caramel apples and apple nut bread in their bakery. On the weekends, the store’s shelves are stocked with homemade apple pies, apple strudel, apple turnovers and hand-rolled gingersnaps. A great number of apple-related products are also available for sale.
Parmenter’s Cider Mill & Winery, Northville http://northvillecider.com (248) 349-3181 Distance from WCC: 15.6 miles Since 1873, Parmenter’s Cider Mill hasn’t missed a cider season, including the season following the winter of 1977, the year the building burned to the ground. The mill is registered as a Michigan Historic Business and recognized as the second oldest establishment in Northville. Despite its age, the owners continue to produce and sell quality cider, cider slushies, doughnuts and caramel apples that can be consumed alongside the small river that runs along the property. On site, customers will find a small winery that offers a variety of grape and apple wines during the fall season.
Apple Charlie’s Orchard, New Boston http://applecharliesorchardandcidermill.com (734) 753-5308 Distance from WCC: 16 miles Apple Charlie’s is a family-owned apple farm. The 95-acre property allows owners to offer both weekend entertainment in their pavilion and an assortment of home-grown fruits. Apples from the orchards U-Pick dwarf apple trees are used to produce the business’ apple cider, apple pies and apple-chopped cinnamon bread. During the month of October, the on-site barn becomes “The Barn of Blood” for those looking for a quick haunted thrill. Hayrides are offered for a nominal fee for families with children. After the ride, you can indulge in cider and doughnuts with the witch.
Erwin Orchards, South Lyon http://erwinorchards.com/wordpress (248) 437-4701 Distance from WCC: 16.6 miles Erwin Orchards is an environmentally friendly orchard that offers an assortment of autumn-themed activities. Visitors can participate in wagon rides, corn mazes, goat walks, and the orchard’s trike trail for small fees. The orchard also offers U-Pick apples, raspberries, cherries and pumpkins. On the weekends, visitors can embark on a journey through one of Erwin’s haunted houses. The two separate houses have been constructed to offer an option for both thrill-seekers and those with young children. The cider mill produces fresh-pressed unpasteurized apple cider and pumpkin doughnuts, using produce grown on the property. Some doughnuts are turned into signature treats with the addition of glaze and autumn-themed sprinkles.
Alber Orchard & CiderMill, Manchester http://alberorchard.com (734) 428-9310 Distance from WCC: 17.2 miles Alber’s Orchard is famous for horse-drawn hayrides through its country-side property. On this scenic ride, you can view the centennial orchard, gazebo, numerous barns and a vintage cider press. The historic cider press is used to produce specially blended apple cider using fresh apples. Alber’s also produces cider doughnuts that can be purchased with its cider. Other activities include a corn maze, U-Pick pumpkin patch, kids play area and special fall entertainment, allowing visitors to have a safe and relaxing time at Alber’s.