Ever since the ancient ice caps dredged themselves across the great Mitten of North America, Michigan has been home to some of the country’s most fertile soil, able to produce some of America’s best-tasting summer fruits and crops. From apples to peaches and cherries to plums, no matter what your favorite healthy summer fruit fix is, Metro Detroit has some of the best options for you to choose from. Make a day of it and head out with family and friends to one of these great locations to stock up on your favorites today.
Rowe’s Produce Farm
10570 Martz Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
If it’s the sweet taste of strawberries that puts you right into the summer mood each season, then head on over to Rowe’s Produce Farm, located just outside Detroit near the summer locale of Ann Arbor. The 2014 picking season is now in full swing and patrons are welcome to drive their cars right out to the fields with their families and friends and pick as many berries as they can carry. Dogs are welcome, too (kept on a leash). Strawberry baskets are free for all customers, although other fruits are available to pick as well.
1540 E. Commerce Road
Commerce, MI 48382
www.longsorchard.comA family farm with long ties to the area, the Long Family Orchard, Farm and Mill has become a local institution not only for its fresh fruit selection each summer, but for its wide variety of vegetables as well. So if you’re looking for a little savory to go with your sweet, try Long’s fresh-grown asparagus, available in early summer, or even its sweet peas available throughout summer. Come late summer as the farm’s apples will be plump and ready and the cider mill will be working overtime. Check out the website for a full list of what’s growing and when.
4888 Oakwood Road
Ortonville, MI 48462
www.middletonberryfarm.comNow under new ownership by local area sisters Carrie and Stacy Janiga, the Middleton Berry Farm looks to continue to serve Metro Detroit with one of the region’s best-loved fruit-picking farms. Not only are fresh strawberries in bloom each spring for visitors to come and pick, but the Middleton Berry Farm is also one of the best locations to pick fresh raspberries, too. In late summer, the raspberries are plentiful and Detroiters come from all over southeast Michigan to get some of the area’s best and sweetest berries. Please call or check out the website for more information on the best times to pick and growing seasons.
63260 Van Dyke Road
Washington, MI 48095
Not only is Verellen Orchards a great place to come to in order to pick your fresh summer fruits, but it is also open year-round, selling some of the freshest, homemade selections using its crops each season. From quality jams made from its own fresh berries to pies and other treats, no matter when you come, you’ll always find something that will suit your fancy at Verellen Orchards. Early in the summer season is a great time for certain berries, such as strawberries, but Verellen Orchards is well-known for its delicious and many varieties of apples and peaches as well. Visit the website or call to find out what is available when you’re ready to make the trip.
4900 32 Mile Road
Washington Township, MI 48095
www.millersbigred.comIf there’s one thing that Michigan is known for, it’s our abundant and incomparable crop of delicious and nutritious cherries. Though much of the state’s cherry farms are located up north near Traverse City, if you can find a farm down here near Detroit that knows what it is doing, the cherries can be just as good as any. And that’s just what Miller’s Big Red Orchards prides itself on doing each summer. In addition, Miller’s is also one of the first farms in the area to develop an environmentally-friendly Aquaponics system, which is a food production system that combines conventional aquaculture (raising aquatic animals such as snails, fish, crayfish or prawns in tanks), with hydroponics (cultivating plants in water) in a symbiotic environment, allowing them to help lead the march to not only produce some of the best fruits and veggies around, but do so in a sustainable manner. Read more about it on the website.
Michael Ferro is freelance writer and a graduate of Michigan State University where he majored in Creative Writing and received the Jim Cash Creative Writing Award. Born and bred in Detroit, he currently resides in Ypsilanti Township. Additional writing can be found at Examiner.com.