For many, autumn means it’s the perfect time to bring out the pumpkin spice. For others, autumn is the ideal time to visit area cider mills and orchards to experience some of Michigan’s finest and delicious treats.
Treats can include apple cider made from locally grown apples, apple wine, warm doughnuts, pumpkins ranging from small to large in numerous colors, hay rides and spending the day with family or friends outdoors.
Locally, Mueller’s Orchard and Cider Mill opened Sept. 8. They’re open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. It’s located at 6036 Lobdell Road in Fenton Township.
Cider at Mueller’s is made with hand-picked apples that are in season. They do not pasteurize nor add preservatives. Their doughnuts include their best selling Apple Cinnamon with sugar. In October they will make Pumpkin Glaze.
Charles Mueller, owner, said their crop is short in some varieties but September apples
Wealthy — Red striped apple with firm white flesh. Excellent for cooking, good eating.
Gala — Firm, sweet, crisp. Excellent eating apple.
Macintosh — Old favorite. Good eating and cooking.
Greening — Old variety, hard green apple very good for cooking, fair eating.
Jonathan — Old variety, firm, tart, crisp, good eating, excellent cooking.
Honeycrisp — Newer variety. Excellent eating apple. Very crisp and juicy. Good sugar acid balance.
Empire — Cross between Red Delicious Macintosh. A hard red apple, good eating and cooking.
Golden Delicious — Old variety, very good eating and cooking apple
Snow — Old variety, small bright red apple with snow white flesh. Every old farm had a Snow tree.
Red Delicious — Old standby. At one time the most popular eating apple.
Ida Red — Very good eating and cooking apple. Red on green background.
Winesap — Old variety, very hard red apple, excellent cooking and good eating, hard and juicy.
Granny Smith — Hard green apple. good eating and cooking. Makes great sauce.
Northern Spy — Your grandmother’s favorite pie apple. Excellent late eating apple.
At Mueller’s Orchard they also grow their own special early Gala, which has exceptional flavor. They grow a limited number of Blondee, Steele’s Red and Tolman Sweet.
Just south of Fenton is Spicer Orchards Farm Market and Winery at 10411 Clyde Rd., Fenton (Hartland Township). Their Farm Market Hours are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily; winery hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily and grille hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
They offer pick-your-own apples of Golden Delicious, Gala and McIntosh, as well as raspberries.
Fall weekend activities may include small carnival rides, train rides, hay rides, kettle corn, BBQ, corn roasting, cotton candy, bubble tea and funnel cakes.
Shannon Rowe, a partner of Spicer Orchards, said, “We have our fall festival weekends going with the pumpkin patch, carnival rides, train rides, scenic hayrides, and pick your own apples are all open.
“We have a good crop of apples and pumpkins and we expect to have a good pick your own season.”
Their fall apples include Gala, MacIntosh, Honey Crisp, Red Cort, Cortland, Jonathon, Red Delicious, Empire, golden Delicious, Mutsu, Northern Spy, Ida Red, Jonagold and Fuji. For details on harvest dates, call (810) 632-7692.
Diehl’s Orchard and Cider Mill in Holly is open and offers a variety of fall treats. They have hot doughnuts, hot and cold cider, a corn maze, hayrides and much more. On Sept. 23 and 24, they will celebrate their 36th annual Ciderfest. They’ll have craft vendors in late September and early October.
Diehl’s is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., until Oct. 31. For more details, visit diehlsorchard.com.
Other Michigan orchards you might want to check out, according to Pure Michigan, include Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery in Grand Rapids. Blake Farms in Armada was voted the number one apple orchard in Michigan by AAA.
Uncle John’s Cider Mill in Saint Johns is well known for its cider mill, which serves fresh cider and doughnuts. Yates Cider Mill in Rochester has existed for more than a century and it has been featured on the Food Network for its apple cider.