Agriculture is big in this part of West Michigan. Whether it's strawberries, blueberries, grapes in wine country, or all kinds of vegetables, you can get it here, fresh from the farm, and generally, bigger than you ever thought it could grow. And one of the annual events is the start of apple cider season. This year, it'll be starting about September 11th and go into early November.

It's a great family event, to not only put smiles on kids' faces but also introduced them the "where it comes from".

Maybe the best known of the cider mills is Verhage's on ML Ave. (8619 West ML Ave. in Kalamazoo, for your GPS) They've been around since 1960.

(eightwestonline via YouTube)

One of the highlights going to Verhage's is all sort of homemade donuts, but they also have a big assortment of pies and other baked goods.

Verhage's Fruit Farm and Cider Mill in Kalamazoo County (eightwestonline via YouTube)
Verhage's Fruit Farm and Cider Mill in Kalamazoo County (eightwestonline via YouTube)

Just down the road a bit from Verhage's is Husted's at 9191 West Main. Their website says they've been at it for over 50 years and they'll be starting their cider season on September 15th. One thing that never occurred to me, is they mention cider sales for home brewers.

Also on West Main is Gene the Pumpkin Man. His specialty is obviously pumpkins but is family of it's own. Facebook page says "See you in September 2021." Nothing more specific. Last year, Gene also requested wearing masks, as he is in his mid-80's.

And still on the western side of the county there's Schultz's Fruitridge Farms in Mattawan. (GPS: 60139 CR 652) They have a big assortment of fruit, and also related to the Texas Corners Brewery in Texas Corners, the another place to "consume" apples.

On the eastern side of the county is Gull Meadow Farms on Gull Road in Richland. They bill themselves as a destination, with not only cider and donuts, but other food items and beyond that, a corn maze, petting zoo, and they host big events like the recently completed Kalamazoo Balloon Festival. It's free to shop, but they do charge admission for other things.

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