No apples? No problem.
Despite this year’s sparse apple crop, area orchards and cider mills will keep the fun rolling.
Most will have plenty of homemade doughnuts and other baked goods. And they will rely on their entertainment offerings to draw in customers.
From haunted hayrides to wine tastings, bouncy houses and more, visitors will find plenty of attractions and activities in lieu of U-pick apples at many places hit hard by this spring’s wacky weather.
At Erwin Orchards and Cider Mill in South Lyon, owner Linda Erwin said there are activities for people of all ages. Erwin’s has a corn maze, Halloween activities, an adventure area, a play area for kids and a petting farm. Wagon rides out to the pumpkin patch begin Sept. 22.
“We’re hoping to break even this year,” said Erwin. “Unfortunately there’s a lot of cost. But our customers are fantastic and supporting us with anything they can.”
This year, Wiard’s Orchard and Country Fair in Ypsilanti — which is celebrating its 175th anniversary — will have its annual season-long fair. But there will be even more activities than years past.
Every Saturday-Sunday through October, the fair will include the Vortex dark spinning tunnel, Mind Shaft ride, corn maze, playground, fire engine rides, mini golf, hayrides, a giant slide and more.
“Growers are very appreciative of the local support they are finding from customers,” said Bob Tritten, a fruit educator for MSU’s Extension Service in southeast Michigan. “They want to make sure their customers come back.”
Surprisingly, in an informal poll Tritten did, about “one-third of customers don’t know we had a short apple crop.”
Apple-lovers, fret not. While most local orchards will not offer U-pick, many will still sell apples. Orchard owners are buying and bringing apples from the west side of the state, where some growers fared better.
As for Basil Babcock, 78, of Ann Arbor, an apple shortage will not deter him. “We’ve always gone to the Dexter Cider Mill and like all their products, especially their baked goods,” he said. Plus, Babcock added, “it’s a pretty drive to get there.”
Apple orchard & cider mill guide
Find an apple orchard by county
Sue Selasky, Detroit Free PressSeptember 13, 2012
No apples? No problem.
Applewood Orchards, Hideaway Orchard, Kapnick Orchards
Parshallville Cider Mill, Spicer Orchards
Alber Orchard & Cider Mill, Dexter Cider Mill, Fusilier Family Farm & Greenhouse, Obstbaum Orchards & Cider Mill, Plymouth Orchards & Cider Mill, Wasem Fruit Farm, Wiard's Orchards & Cider Mill & Country Fair
Bennett's Orchard, Erie Orchards & Cider Mill
Apple Charlie's South Huron Orchards & Cider Mill, Parmenter's Northville Cider Mill
Ashton's Orchards & Cider Mill, Diehl's Orchard & Cider Mill, Erwin Orchards & Cider Mill, Franklin Cider Mill, Long Family Orchard Farm & Cider Mill, Yates Cider Mill
Blake's Orchard & Cider Mill, Blake's Big Apple, Hy's Cider Mill, Miller's Big Red Apple Orchard, Stony Creek Orchard & Cider Mill, Verellen Orchards, Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm