Friday, September 19, 2014

Falling for Michigan: Autumn Activities in the Mitten - Part 1 of 4

After living in Chicago for a year, I realized what I missed the most about Michigan: the fall. Weather-wise, the two states aren't much different, but in Illinois, autumn is all about corn. Don't get me wrong, I love corn mazes (especially the haunted ones), but to me, the season should be all about apples, and the satisfying snap they make when you pull them from their branches.

"Upick" apple farms are as ubiquitous in northern Macomb County as Don’t Tread on Me flags, but if you live in Wayne or Oakland County, they may be harder to find. Fortunately, the Michigan Agritourism Directory has finally gone digital. You can check it out online, or download the Michigan Farm Markets Finder app. The free app is loaded with valuable information, but is limited in its searching capabilities. For instance, you can only browse by the name of the market, farm, or mill, not by what produce you want to pick.

According to, a site that looks like it is straight out of 1997, Michigan apples are in season from mid-August until mid-November. However, certain varieties like Gala and McIntosh are best in September. Since McIntosh apples are my absolute favorite, I made the 35-mile trek out to Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill in Armada. The drive was worth it; I left the orchard with 13 apples, a half dozen donuts, and a half gallon of cider for just $15.

In addition to apples, peppers, cabbage, fall raspberries, and beans are still in season. Check out the Michigan Agritourism Directory or to find the upick location nearest you.


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