Cider mills and apple orchards have officially been open for about a month now, and I certainly hope you’ve taken advantage of at least one so far this season. I may or may not have been twice already.
If you read our apple cider and donuts article, then you already know where to go to get your fix of these delicious treats. But what about u-pick farms? Plenty of the same orchards that serve up donuts and hot cider also allow you to pick fresh fruit from their fields.
You might be surprised to learn that it’s not just apples and pumpkins that are currently in season. Several places offer u-pick raspberries, too. I, for one, was under the impression that raspberries were only in season during the summer. Apparently there are two growing seasons of these little gems in our great state, one of which occurs in the fall.
The following orchards and farms all offer some sort of u-pick item. Get yourself outdoors and get picking!
Apple Charlie’s, 38035 S. Huron Rd., New Boston, currently has three varieties of apples ready for the picking, including Golden Delicious. This particular variety is great when it comes to making applesauce. I’ve already made my own from scratch several times this fall. If you’re looking to do the same, try a recipe like this one. Personally, I like one that’s simple and doesn’t have too many additional ingredients. Apple Charlie’s also has u-pick pumpkins, which cost 40 cents per pound.
Erwin Orchards, 61475 Silver Lake Rd., South Lyon, has u-pick Red Delicious apples available through October 31. This variety of apple is the most popular kind you’d find at a grocery store or farmers market. They’re sweet and great for snacking. Erwin’s also has u-pick raspberries through the first frost, and u-pick pumpkins for 50 cents per pound.
Blake Farms, 17985 Armada Center Rd., Armada, has several u-pick apple varieties throughout the fall season. Double Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are just a few of the varieties available through the beginning of November. U-pick Bosc pears are available through mid-October and pumpkins through November. Enjoy the pears fresh, or honey roast them and turn them into dessert. Yum!
Makielski Berry Farm, 71300 Platt Rd., Ypsilanti, has a 20-acre u-pick raspberry field (red, yellow and amber varieties), as well as a six-acre blackberry field. The season lasts until November 1, so you’ve got plenty of time to get out there and harvest your own fruit! You can also pick up a jar of raw honey while you’re there—honey bees are raised on the farm, too. Ideal for those who can their own jams, the berries can also be used fresh in something like a Raspberry and Candied Walnut Salad (you’ll also get to use the honey you just purchased!).
Bennett’s Orchard, 5565 Lonsear Rd., Ottawa Lake, has over a dozen varieties of apples. The ones ripe for the picking in October include Northern Spies, Braeburn and Ida Red—all of which are great cooking apples. Try turning the Braeburn apples into an almond sheet tart. The u-pick price is $24 per bushel (in case you’re not so great in the mathematics department, a bushel of apples weighs nearly 50 pounds, so it will give you enough fresh fruit for weeks, I assure you).
Three Cedars Farm, 7897 6 Mile Rd., Northville, has a u-pick pumpkin patch. Where better to select the perfect pumpkin for carving a jack-o-lantern? Whoever says pumpkin carving is just for kids doesn’t know what they’re missing. Plus, you can then roast the seeds for a healthy snack—they’re packed with all sorts of good vitamins and minerals. But just in case your sweet tooth also needs to be satisfied, the Cider and Donut Hut will do the trick.
Wiard’s, 5565 Merritt Rd., Ypsilanti, has both u-pick apples and pumpkins. If you head out soon, you’ll find Golden Delicious and Ida Red varieties ripe for the picking. October is National Apple Month, so you best celebrate accordingly! Check out Wiard’s official site for their apple pie recipe—it calls for Ida Reds, so it’s perfect pie-making time.
As you can see, fall in southeast Michigan is filled with local produce just waiting to be picked! Whether your goal is to enjoy it fresh or whip it up into something a little more decadent, now is the time to do so.