Monday, September 9, 2013

Cider Makes Autumn a Sweet Time


As summer vacations come to an end, the prospect of crisp apples and fresh cider makes fall a little more appealing.  Many families have a tradition of visiting a cider mill to watch cider-making process and to buy fresh apples.

Michigan residents are fortunate to live in a state that is the third largest apple producer in the U.S., harvesting 30 million bushels of Honeycrisp, Jonagold, McIntosh, Zestar and many more varieties.  Apples, a healthy food, are delicious for the lunch box, pies, sauce, salads and more.  (Visit www.michiganapples.com for recipes.) 

This year’s crop is expected to be exceptional with prices back to 2011 levels, making up for last year’s high costs after many orchards were damaged by bad weather. If you’re going to buy apples already picked at a cider mill or orchard, a half-peck bag may cost from $5 to $7.95, depending on the location and variety.  Some cider mills and orchards offer the “pick your own” option—a fun family activity which may be less expensive than apples that have been picked for customers.  Either way, they’re fresher and less expensive than most supermarket apples.

Apple harvest times vary for different types of the fruit so it’s best to call ahead if you’re seeking particular varieties.  Don’t expect apples purchased at an orchard to be shiny like the ones at the supermarket.  That shines comes from wax and who wants wax on their apples?

Cider mills often sell other varieties of fruit, baked goods, jams and preserves, and pumpkins.  Some cider mills offer hay and tractor rides, corn mazes, pony rides, and pumpkin picking although there may be additional charges for some activities.

A selection of local cider mills follows:
Western Wayne County Area
·         Plymouth Orchards and Cider Mill, 10685 Warren Rd., Plymouth; Phone: 734-455-2290 www.plymouthorchards.com 

·         Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill, 714 Baseline Rd., Northville; Phone: 248-349-3181 www.northvillecider.com 

·         Three Cedars Farm, 7896 Six Mile, Salem Township; Phone: 248-437-8200  www.threecedarsfarm.com 

·         Apple Charlie’s, 38035 S. Huron Road, New Boston; Phone: 734-753-9380 www.applecharlie.com 

·         Erwin Orchards U-Pick, 61475 Silver Lake Rd., South Lyon; Phone: 248-437-0150

Northern Michigan
·             Knaebe’s Mmmunchy Krunchy Apple Farm and Cider Mill, 2622 Karsten Road, Rogers City; Phone: 989-734-2561  www.mmmunchykrunchyapplefarm.com

·        Farmer White’s, 11373 U.S. 31 South, Williamsburg; Phone: 238-632-1500  www.farmerwhites.com 

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