Several excellent cider mills operate within the county of Washtenaw in Michigan, which itself is renowned for its many cider mills. One of them was named as one of the top ten cider mills in the country by Fine Living Magazine.
This mill, the centerpiece of Alber's Orchards and Cider Mill, was established by John Alber in 1890 and owned by the Alber family until Mike and Therese Bossary (from Ann Arbor) purchased the orchards and mill.
The Bossarys upgraded the operation to meet modern sanitary requirements, but the original mill still does the work of pressing apples. Saturdays and Sundays, you can watch the mill in operation. The apple blends are choice as the Bossarys grow over 35 traditional and 65 heirloom varieties. Every week the blend is differently delicious and the many varieties of apples are available for purchase as the growing season dictates. Therese will advise you on the best use of each variety and she provides taste samples! Of course, fresh baked donuts are available to enjoy with your cider.
- ***Northern Spy apples*** (considered the best baking apple by chefs) are still available
- While at the mill, you can walk through the corn maze or enjoy a ride in a horse drawn carriage to the pumpkin patch where there are many varieties of squash.
- The property is the site of many special events, as the orchards and pavilion, the rustic mill and barns, and the gorgeous rolling hillsides make for a romantic setting for marriages or birthday parties.
- Hours? T-F from 12 to 6, Sat. 9 to 6, and Sun. 10 to 6 is
- Where? 13011 Bethel Church Road, Manchester. The property lies between Pleasant Lake and the quaint village of Manchester.
- The drive there is scenic from any direction.
- But hurry out there. The press shuts down after Thanksgiving, but wait, there's more.....
- Hard cider ? Mike, an authority on the process, begins the production of the spirits. Feel free to ask Mike when the hard cider will be available.
I really enjoy the unpasteurized sweet cider and put up several gallons in the freezer to get me and my husband through the winter. As an added bonus, the jugs of frozen cider make great gifts for our family and friends in the far north (Marquette) where apple trees just don't do well. But they bring us lots of wild blueberries.
If you buy extra cider to put in the freezer, remember to first pour off a tall glass and enjoy it. This provides expansion space and prevents the jug from splitting. The extra glass of cider now is your reward for being so farsighted. Recap the jug. Put it in the freezer. Sit back and sip your cider between bites of donut. Ahhh. Perfect end to a delightful afternoon.