Apple Cider: An Inside Look at Parmenter’s Cider Mill & Spicer Orchards

By: Amber Ogden | September 2, 2015

Cider mills and apple orchards are a prime indicator of fall. While there are many places to chow down on fresh doughnuts and sip apple cider in southeast Michigan, these two have a vast history and new seasonal offerings:

Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill is a family owned business, operated by husband and wife duo Cheryl and Robert Nelson, along with their son and daughter-in-law.

After weeks of preparation including sending out a doughnut machine for repairs, painting the floor and walls and setting up the store with new products, Parmenter’s opened for the season on Saturday, Aug. 29.

The oldest business in Northville, Parmenter’s was established in 1873 and also boasts Northville Winery and Brewing Company, in case you’re looking for something a little stronger than cider.

Besides cider and doughnuts, you’ll find fudge, candied almonds, apple pie, caramel apples and more in the store—as well as doughnut chips, which were added last year.

“We take our doughnuts and slice them and then add cinnamon sugar or garlic and salt,” Cheryl said. “They were well received here in our store and Busch’s Market carried them last year.”

Spicer Orchards in Fenton is a year-round orchard, but that doesn’t mean the fall season is any less special. Shannon Rowe (nee Spicer), daughter of owners Alan and Wanda Spicer, co-owns the orchard along with her parents and brother.

“The fall just has this magical feel to it that is really hard to put to words,” Shannon said. “As soon as the weather begins to cool and the apple harvest begins, fresh cider is made and the smell of cinnamon doughnuts, it almost feels a little romantic.”

The orchard offers u-pick produce, like apples, raspberries and blueberries, as well as activities, including a playground, corn maze and, for the adults, a winery.

Be sure to check out the brand new Carriage House building, an expansion of the winery modeled after an original barn from the property in the 1860s. While at the winery, try the Sweet Hard Cider (new this month) or Peach, Cranberry or Cherry wines.

Enjoy the fall season in the D with a cup of cider in hand!