It’s fall in Michigan, prime season for apple picking. The third top producer of apples in the U.S. (after Washington state and New York), Michigan has about 14.9 million apple trees on nearly 800 family-run farms.
A spring freeze turned blossoms to icicles, however, which means there are far fewer apples to pick. Several orchards and mills that traditionally offer pick-your-own apples are scrapping it this year, after losing a large portion of their crops.
There are still apples for sale in most orchard stores and at cider mills, who sometimes buy crops from others in the state. Below, is a list of orchards and farms near Detroit where you still can pick your own apples this season. Be sure to call ahead for availability.
Apple Charlie’s — New Boston
The no-frills 95-acre farm downriver has dwarf trees with homegrown apples ripe for easy picking. The season for picking is shorter this year but visitors can indulge in apple cider, apple pies, apple-chopped cinnamon bread, and donuts while enjoying weekend entertainment. The petting farm includes an ostrich and pigmy goats. Apples are $25 half bushel. 38035 S. Huron Road, New Boston. 734-753-9380
Big Red Orchard — Washington Township
Hop a wagon for a hayride to the fields to pick apples (and pumpkins). The perfect weekend venue for families, there’s a straw mountain, cornhole, and a petting zoo. After picking, kick back with donuts, Big Red cider, pies, turnovers, and caramel apples. Call ahead for availability. 4900 32 Mile Rd., Washington Township. 586-752-7888
Blake’s Big Apple — Armada
Blake’s family of farms that includes Blake’s Orchard & Cider Mill, Blake’s Big Apple, and Blake’s Backyard in Almont is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. A year-round destination, it’s one of the first and most popular u-pick orchards in the state, with fuji, ambrosia, gala, Japanese rose, Cortland, Empire, and other apple varieties. Customers drive straight into the orchard in Armada, which is about an hour northeast of Detroit. The farm requires a minimum of $20 of produce per car for u-pick. No pets or picnicking are allowed on the farm. 71485 North Ave., Armada. 586-784-5343
Hy’s Cider Mill — Bruce Township
This family-owned working scenic cider mill has apple cider, donuts, and u-pick apples every Saturday and Sunday in the fall. Fuji apples are available for picking beginning Saturday, October 16, and golden russets are available the following weekend. Open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. (u-pick until 5 p.m.) through November 17. 6350 37 Mile Rd, Bruce Township. 810-798-3611
Fall weekend days are filled with people packing in to buy fresh donuts, cider, or preparing to pick apples. Families can enjoy a refreshing glass of cider and a hot fresh donut in the picnic area. For those not interested in heading to the field, the farmstand stocks fruit fresh from the trees. The cost to pick is $30/four people (1/2 bushel), $20/two people (one bushel), $3/person for any additional person. 2961 W. 32 Mile Road, Romeo. 586-752-2453
Westview Orchard and Adventure Farm — Washington Township
There are 10 varieties of apples to pick straight from the trees in September, and 15 in October, with the selection changing weekly. On weekdays, check in at the cider barn to purchase apple bags. On weekends, apple wagon ride tickets are ($3) are required with a reservation. 65075 Van Dyke Rd. Besides apples, there’s a lot to discover at the orchard and farm: pumpkins and squash to pick; a corn maze; a winery; and even country line dancing. There’s a minimum picking amount. 65075 Van Dyke, Washington. 586-752-3123
Erwin Orchards, Inc. — South Lyon
Erwin Orchards is celebrating 101 years and still growing. Apples are available for picking until Sunday, October 31. Head to the back of the cider mill store to the u-pick window. Afterward, try the corn maze, cider, and donuts. The spring’s frost eliminated half of the apple crop this year: cortland, honey crisp, and Northern spy aren’t available this season. Apple-picking costs $25 peck, $35 half-bushel, or $50 bushel(payable via cash or check). 61475 Silver Lake Road, South Lyon. 248-437-0150
Long Family Orchard, Farm & Cider Mill — Commerce Township
Purchase an apple bag before heading out to the orchard. On weekends, a free hayride is included with the last ride going out into the orchard at 5:30 pm. Besides 10 varieties of apples suitable for baking, eating, and salads, there are pumpkins to choose from. There’s also cider, homemade donuts, cider slushes, jams, and a corn maze to explore. Call ahead (248-360-3774) to find what’s available and for market pricing. 1540 E. Commerce Rd., Commerce Township
Coleman’s Corn Maze — Saline
Known for its massive corn maze, Coleman’s also boasts a field for picking apples (and pumpkins). There’s a crop of chestnut crab, cortland, gala, ginger gold, golden delicious, honeycrip, jonagold, and zestar apples. Visitors also will find hayrides, and a petting barn with baby animals. 12758 Jordan Rd., Saline. 734-429-1212