Symphonies in cider
A short guide to notable apple orchards and cider mills in metro Detroit
Published: September 21, 2011
Three Cedars Farm 7897 Six Mile Rd., Northville; 248-437-8200; threecedarsfarm.org: The farm's website has a video on its home page featuring Hillbilly Joe who delivers a video rundown of what all visitors should expect from Three Cedars Farm: Pumpkins, hay rides and every variation of cider and donuts under the sun available in their "hut." Mr. Joe says: "I'm born a hillbilly, I've been raised a hillbilly and I'm gonna die a hillbilly." A sure unique cider mill experience. Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday. Closes Halloween.
Verellen Orchards 63260 Van Dyke Rd., Washington; 586-752-2989; verellenorchards.com: Their general store carries a variety of seasonal produce including an array of apples and cider. They also carry cookies, pies and donuts baked fresh every morning. Open year round, seven days a week, 7a.m.-6 p.m.
Wasem Fruit Farm 6580 Judd Rd., Milan; 734-482-2342; wasemfruitfarm.com: This family-run orchard located in Augusta Charter Township offers "U-pick apples" pumpkins, and raspberries, donuts, unpasteurized cider, honey, pears, plums. Though the mill is housed in a (slightly) less-than-picturesque building, it's still a wonderful place to take the kids. Open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 31. Call ahead if you plan visiting past Halloween as Wasem's says after that the "hours start getting somewhat sporadic."
Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm 65075 Van Dyke Rd., Washington; 586-752-3123; westvieworchards.com: Established in 1813, the orchard encompasses 188 acres of what they tout as "good old-fashioned flavors and fun." It features a 6-acre corn maze, 40 ft. slide and ice cream & sweet shoppe bakery. Be sure to at least give a passing glance to their apple fritter or French toast casserole. Open daily from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Closes Dec. 24.
Wiard's Orchards Inc. 5565 Merritt Rd., Ypsilanti; 734-390-9211; wiards.com: Founded in 1853, this is the supermegaplex of orchards. Wiard's (pronounced "wired's" not "weird's") features a pony, corral, a farm market, a karaoke stage, hayrides, corn maze, giant inflatables, and — oh, and apples. Lots of apples; served with the requisite fresh-pressed cider and hot cinnamon donuts, available at the Country Store. They also have "U-pick" pumpkins. In short, this charming cider mill seems to have it all — incorporated. Wiard's is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday; 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Admission is $8.75 Wednesday-Friday; $12.50 Saturday-Sunday. Children under 2 years old are free. Closes Oct. 30.
Yates Cider Mill 1990 E. Avon Rd., Rochester Hills; 248-651-8300; yatescidermill.com: Surrounded by beautiful parks fit for picnics and hiking, the Yates Cider Mill has as many as 24 varieties of apples — usually five or six different kinds at once — can go into its ciders. In addition to the main store's donuts, butters, apples and syrup, a second shop can be found across a small bridge selling such specialty items as Frankenmuth fudge. Pair a donut or the fudge with one of the 20 different flavors of premium ice cream served at the recently added Ice Cream Shoppe, which runs through September. November's chill brings with it Yates hot cider wassail, and pony rides are available weekends for the kids. Reserved tours of the cider-making process and press operation are given through November. Open 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. Closes Dec. 22. A recently opened outpost location at Great Lakes Crossing Mall will be open year-round. Yates says the outpost will always be offering their favorites, but will only have cider as long as the mill does.
Special thanks to editorial intern Ryan Felton for his help compiling this column.
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