Awesome Orchards in the Mitten

Awesome Orchards in the Mitten
The Awesome Mitten - Awesome Orchards in the Mitten
Photo courtesy of Blake Farms.

1) Blake Farms
17985 Armada Center Rd., Armada MI 48005, (586)784-5343, www.blakefarms.com, Facebook

What you can find when you visit here:
Blake Farms is a family owned orchard located in the metro Detroit area.  It features three stores including the original store cider mill, the Almont greenhouse and of course the apple orchards. Some not-to-miss attractions are the haunted hayrides, the zombie paintball safari (via hayride), and glow-in-the-dark paintball. “Our season runs from April through December, where you can experience the best of Michigan agriculture. Fall may be the most popular time of the year to visit, catch up with friends while enjoying fresh-pressed cider, hot donuts, and those all-too-amazing Michigan apples…but we’d have to agree that out here, it’s beautiful year-round,” shared Alyssa Goch, who does social media and eMarketing for Blake Farms. When you visit Blake Farms this fall, be sure to check out the brand new lunch menu at the cider mill cafe.

Here’s a little history lesson:
Blake Farms has “been around since 1946. Their website proclaims that they have been operating for an astounding “66 years and counting! We’re so proud to have served the Metro Detroit community since 1946.”

The Awesome Mitten - Awesome Orchards in the Mitten
Photo courtesy of Knaebe’s.

2) Knaebe’s Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Farm & Cider Mill
2622 Karsten Road Rogers City Michigan, (989) 734-2567, www.mmmunchykrunchyapplefarm.com, Facebook

What you can find when you visit here:
Knaebe’s is definitely a one-of-a-kind destination for apple lovers and the location is key. It is one of the very few orchards located in Michigan”s northeast. This orchard is a bit off the beaten track and is tucked away in the hills and is owned and run by Dusty and Doc Knaebe. According to Dusty Knaebe, one of the most distinct features is a “big 1920s barn [with] eclectic model airplanes [and] an electric train running around the ceiling.” You should definitely come hungry, as the little bake shop offers treats like apple bread pudding, upside down pumpkin muffins, and giant cookies in addition to a fully-stocked gift shop. Additional attractions include a little zoo and big play yard. On the weekends, visitors can take horse-drawn wagon rides and enjoy locally produced brats, hot dogs, and German potato salad. “Some customers say they really like the barn [because there are] lots of funny things to look at. It’s like Santa’s workshop,” Dusty added.

Here’s a little history lesson:
The apple trees were planted in 1985 and the first apples were sold in 1991. “It snowballed from there [with additions] of a cider machine and then a donut machine. It really just started from wanting to buy a tractor,” said Dusty Knaebe.

The Awesome Mitten - Awesome Orchards in the Mitten
Photo courtesy of Spicer Orchards.

3) Spicer Orchards
10411 Clyde Road Fenton MI, (810) 632-7692, www.spicerorchards.com, Facebook

What you can find when you visit here:
Spicer Orchards offers a little of everything for its visitors. You can pick your own fruit (On Saturdays and Sundays they provide wagon rides for pick your own pumpkins and raspberries), find your way through a lengthy corn maze (this year’s features a Pony Express theme that helps to teach history) and wagon rides through the beautifully colored woods. Along with purchasing fall fruits, customers can also buy “cider and fresh donuts, pies and breads, a variety of Michigan products (including maple syrup, jams and jellies, honey), different dips and dressings, sausage, and apple mulling spices.” Spicer is unique because of “they serve hot donuts instead of cold ones and their cider is notoriously delicious. If that isn’t reason enough to pay them a visit, you can also enjoy bouncy castles, petting zoos and an animal barn.

Here’s a little history lesson:
Spicer is currently operated by the 5th generation of the Spicer family and it has been in this area since 1969 and have been teaching children about life on the farm for decades.

The Awesome Mitten - Awesome Orchards in the Mitten
Photo courtesy of Yates Cider Mill.

4) Yates Cider Mill
1990 E. Avon Road Rochester Hills MI, (248) 651-0135, www.yatescidermill.com, Facebook

What you can find when you visit here:
Yates is very proud of their long history and according to their website, their orchard “is a Michigan landmark and a registered historic site, making delicious apple cider with water power from the Clinton River since 1876” and “is one of the oldest, continually running businesses in Michigan.” Yates attract tourists from all over the United States, as well as international visitors. Groups and schools can book tours to visit the historic site and see the inner workings of the cider mill. The mill is still powered by a water turbine that was installed in 1894 and can really make history come alive. This is a cider mill that you do not want to miss, and something Michigan can be proud of.

Here’s a little history lesson:
Although there is no orchard on the premises, but on the weekends you can watch fudge being made the old fashioned way.

 

For more orchards, check out our past features, Robinettes and Spicers, and check out last year’s feature on corn mazes!

~Amy Page, Feature Writer