Whether you like it hot or cold, hard or not, these Michigan orchards are working to bring you high-quality local cider.
MICHIGAN—Although some recent 70-degree days have been fighting for a last chance to shine, autumn is in full effect—and that means it’s apple-picking time in Michigan.
The Mitten is the third largest producer of apples in the country. We’re talking nearly 15 million apple trees covering 34,500 acres on 775 family-run farms, according to the Michigan Apple Committee. And recent reporting from WNDU shows the state is on track to produce a pretty huge harvest this year.
So, of course, we’re thinking about cider: cold cider slushes in the middle of the day while the sun is shining, or a warm cup of cider around the bonfire at night. Honestly, we could go either way.
Here are some Michigan cider mills worth checking out this season.
Franklin Cider Mill (Bloomfield Hills)
Did you say a cider dog? Yes, please. No other cider mill in Michigan is marinating dogs in cider like Franklin Cider Mill. Here you can actually watch the cider-making process as you enjoy your favorite apple beverage. This cider mill is a Michigan favorite in the fall because of the open-air market, Apple Shack, and a tent where everything from jams to homemade salsa is sold.
Franklin is open until the end of November.
Wiard’s Orchards (Ypsilanti)
About 30 minutes west of Detroit stands the oldest operating apple orchard in Michigan. Wiard’s Orchard—which opened in 1837, the same year Michigan officially became a state—offers over 100 acres and 5,000 apple trees as the perfect backdrop to your fall fun festivities.
Wiard’s also offers families much more than cider.
There is a county fair with hayrides, petting farms, and a corn maze. Shopping in the Country Market is also always a treat, with some of the best cider and caramel-dipped apples you have ever tasted.
Hurry: Wiard’s Orchards’ official last day open this season is Oct. 30.
Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill (Armada)
Noted as one of the first U-pick apple orchards in the state of Michigan, Blake’s was founded in 1947. This family-owned business grows over 40 varieties of apples, making a flavorful cup of cider. As adults indulge in the hard stuff, the kids can enjoy the colossal play area.
Families can make a day here, starting with U-pick apples and corn mazes, pausing for lunch in the tasting room where food is served, and ending with a cup of cider before heading home. Or better yet, stop by the market on the way out to take some for the road.
Apple picking at Blake’s happens until December.
Spicer Orchards Farm Market & Winery (Fenton)
Open year round, Spicer Orchards is always a good time. The cider here is made fresh daily on the farm, and you can get flights of hard cider for sampling at the winery or pick up a growler (or two) to take home with you. Meanwhile, the kids can enjoy bounce houses, face-painting, a corn maze, and more. The winery at Spicer Orchards is open year round. In the winter months, call ahead for hours.
Bonus: Rumor has it this is one of the best spots to witness a Michigan sunset.
Markillie Orchard (Howell)
You know the cider at Markillie’s is good because the folks there regularly post on Facebook that they’ve run out for the day. The farm began growing and harvesting apples in the late ’90s, producing 13 different varieties, so Markillie has definitely had time to perfect its recipe for hot cider. You can also indulge in ice-cold cider slushes, and don’t forget the caramel apple chips.
Markillie Orchard will be open through the end of October; as of press time, it’s unclear if it will remain open in November. Check out the website for updates.
Yates Cider Mill (Rochester Hills)
Starting production in 1863, Yates stands among the oldest operating cider mills in the state. Its cider is award-winning: Yates took first place in the 2021 Cider Mill Donut Showdown Bracket Challenge, beating out 32 local cider mills.
The cider mill follows a detailed four-step process that combines 10 varieties of apples to create a crisp and smooth cider.
Yates Cider Mill (and the Yates Store in Lake Orion at Canterbury Village) are open all year around.
Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill (Northville)
This cider mill is tucked away in the historic part of Cabbage Town, offering the perfect backdrop to a Michigan fall day. Celebrating 150 years in operation soon, this mill offers cider, fresh baked goods and wine. Kids will enjoy the wooden train for them to play on as well as a nearby creek to view the ducks.
Parmenter’s will close for the season on Nov. 20.
Apple Charlie’s Orchard and Cider Mill (New Boston)
Come for the cider, stay for the delicious homemade apple pies. One Facebook commenter called the offerings at Apple Charlie’s Orchard “the best cider this side of the Rockies.” Family-friendly activities here include pony rides and a petting farm—keep your eyes peeled for an ostrich, too. There is also a rotation of food trucks at the mill, and admission is always free along with parking.
Apple Charlie’s Orchard and Cider Mill is open daily and year round.
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