While Erie Orchards and Cider Mill in Erie, Michigan, is open in the summer for the blueberry and peach seasons, the best time to go is in the fall for apples and pumpkins. You can pick your own produce and enjoy a variety of food and entertainment on any weekend in the fall.
The orchard, located at 1235 Erie Road., has 30 acres of apples. Varieties include Ida Red, Granny Smith, Northern Spy, Golden and Red Delicious, McIntosh, Jonathan, Jonagold, Paulared, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Braeburn. It costs $1 to park in the lot, but you are given a $1 off coupon for you pick apples or any item in the store.
If you decide to pick your own apples, you pick up a bushel or half bushel bag and then drive back to the trees. You then pay for the apples picked as you leave the orchard section. It costs $21 for a half bushel and $32 for a bushel; however, if you don’t fill the bags you can get a reduced price. The apple trees are in well-marked rows planted far enough apart to drive your car right up to the trees and start picking.
Once you’re done picking, you can park your car in the dirt lot between the orchard and the barns, and walk up the path to food, animals and the crafts barn. The kids will love the reindeer and the bales of hay to play in, and parents will want to snap pictures of their children peering out from holes in plywood boards painted with apple trees and scarecrows.
Several smaller craft tents line the path, but more crafts are in the front craft barn and the main store. The main store has the cider mill, homemade fudge, fresh donuts and a variety of boxed and jarred food items such as salsa, apple butter , pumpkin butter and apple waffle and pancake mix. You can also buy apples if you prefer not to pick them yourself. Prices for the boxed food fall in the $7 to $9 range, while the fudge is abound $11 per pound. A bushel of apples in the store is $34.95.
On weekends, there is usually a DJ playing tunes on request or maybe even karaoke. There are also hayrides, pony rides and inflatable bounce house toys for the children at a nominal cost. You can also buy hot dogs, hamburgers and other hot food from a window counter outside the main barn and eat at picnic tables set up outside.
Erie Orchard is open Monday through Saturday 9 am to 7 pm, and Sunday from 11 am to 6 pm. The you pick orchard closes half an hour earlier. They are only five miles north of Toledo, and can be reached easily from US 23.