By Mary Hall, email@example.com
There are still a few weeks of October left to take the family out to visit one of Washtenaw County’s several Cider Mills. With a chill in the air and leaves crunching under foot, now might be the best time to pile the kids in the car or go on a date and head out.
One of the oldest cider mills in the state is that of Alber Orchard and Cider Mill, located at 13011 Bethel Church Rd. in Manchester, Michigan. Proprietors Nancy and Mike Bossory run the farm and are the first family outside the Alber family to own it. Andrew Jackson deeded this property originally in 1932, and the house they live in on the property was built by hand in 1890.
While they have a mill which produces delicious cider, among their 104 different types of apples there are heirloom apples which cannot be bought in grocery stores.
They also have other entertainment for the family, such as a corn maze, hay rides and tours. You can pick out your pumpkin while you’re there as well.
For more information, call 734-428-9310 or go to www.alberorchard.com.
You haven’t really experienced Autumn in Dexter, Michigan until you’ve gone to the Dexter Cider Mill, located at 3685 Central St. in Dexter, Michigan. This very popular cider mill has had only three owners (3 families) in 132 years. The current owners, Nancy and Marty Steinhauer, are very busy with the mill because it is so popular. Along with cider and donuts, they carry many other products from local producers such as maple syrup, honey and their own brand of pastry mix.
The only problem one might have when going to the Dexter Cider Mill is finding a parking place, but there is plenty of street parking around the mill as long as you don’t mind a short walk.
For more information, call 734-426-8531 or go to www.dextercidermill.com.
One can’t talk about cider and donuts in Dexter, Michigan without bringing up Jenny’s Market. A favorite among the younger kids, Jenny’s has a stacked hay maze that the kids seem to flock to.
With their pumpkin donuts that are so popular the only way they come is hot, and their cold cider by the cup, half gallon or gallon to wash then down with, it seems to be a hit with folks near and far. Located at 12651 Island Lake Rd. Dexter, Michigan where Island Lake Rd. and Dexter-Pinckney Rd. meet, this farm stand not only give tours of its hitch-powered cider mill, but also offers pony rides and a petting farm for kids to enjoy. For the adults, this 200-year-old working farm sells plants, planters, mums, and a wide variety of products such as mustard, honey and a variety of jams among many other things. Jenny’s Farm Stand and Market is open 7 days per week from 7 am until 7pm.
For more information, call 734-424-3431 or go to http://www.jennysfarmmarket.com/.
Walking onto Lesser Farms Orchard and Cider Mill property is a little bit like taking a step back in time, at least until you see the mill itself. Pumpkins are scattered decoratively across the front yard, just past the hand painted signs guiding you to come in and visit. The proprietor, Dale, doesn’t talk a lot, but what he does say is important and intellectual. Their modern-day cider mill sits in contrast to their farm home and quiet ways, but their products are every bit as tasty as the bigger guys. In fact, this orchard has been here since the 1800’s, and the Lesser’s have been running it since 1908. The current generation has been on the farm since 1970. It is interesting to note that, before it became Lesser property, it was owned by the Warner family, only the second family in the area, and at the time the only house that stood between their and Ann Arbor was Judge Warner’s house.
This seems to be a great place to visit when you want that country drive feeling without having to go too far out. They offer a variety of apples and cider, and some good old-fashioned manners.
For more information, go to: https://www.facebook.com/Lesser-Farms-and-Orchard-1408694636014154/.
Wasem Fruit Farm is in the Washtenaw County portion of Milan. Just a short drive off the main roads to 6580 Judd Rd. will get you there, where you’ll find a large building selling many wares. Along with four types of donuts made in house, and assorted apples, they also grow pears, plums, raspberries, tart cherries, gooseberries, and red and black currants. They sell apples and other products in their store but they are a u-pick orchard as well, however, you must meet certain minimums. They offer school tours of the cider mill. Jan and Bruce Upston have had this property in their family since 1942, and it was first planted in the 1950’s.
For more information, call 734-482-2342 or go to: www.wasemfruitfarm.com.
Last but certainly not least is Wiard’s Orchard and Cider Mill. Since 1837, this well-known entertainment venue has stayed in the same family, that of the Wiards. While there are no actual tours of the cider mill itself, people can watch the mill through the large picture windows adjacent to the country store. When asked what their best seller in the store is, the same answer kept arising: a three-way tie between cider, donuts and caramel apples.
With at least 15 varieties of apples and a large field of pumpkins, kids can literally have a field day doing their own picking and burn off that extra energy with the many country fair attractions held at Wiards.
From the animal farm to the Fort Wiard Mini Golf to the Corm Maze & Straw Play area, there’s a lot to do for everyone who visits.
Rose Timbers, the Special Events Coordinator for Wiards has worked there for 30 years because she says, “I love my job, I love seeing the kids have so much fun, and I love the people I work for.”
For more information, call 734-482-7744 or go to www.wiards.com