The Rise and Fall of Cinnamon Goodness

Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Eating her curds and whey.
Along came a spider
who sat down with cider
and said
“Girl, you got to dump that shit!”

Hey yo! It’s October (wheee, happy October 1st everyone! My favorite month has arrived!) which means I can drag out the Halloween decorations. I’m also thinking that it might be time to go scouting pumpkins and if I’m looking for pumpkins I might as well go to a cider mill and check out what’s going on. Like that logic? It gets me from Halloween decoration to warm fresh cinnamon doughnuts in one trip.

You gotta love that. I’m in the process of trying to get everyone geeked about a trip to the cider mill this Saturday. I want my doughnuts, damnit. I’m having a hot off the grease vat sugared cinnamon doughnuts and fresh pressed cider thing plus I’m itching to check out a couple places I haven’t been. One’s in Saline (where I lived for two years but never managed to go to this cider mill that must be less than 3 miles from my old place) and the other is in Salem. Barring that, I could run out to Erwin’s in my old home town of South Lyon and check them out. Hey! Apparently I’m all about the ‘S’ towns.

So cider mills. I’m all about the small town feel of a place that has lots of different kinds of apples in half barrel bushels for the choosing. They can have them in bags too for convenience, that’s no problem but I want it to seem like an old farm store from way back. I want to pull up and find that the place has a wooden floored building and a big old pumpkin bespeckled field near by. I want to smell the doughnuts in the air as I get out of the car. I want to walk past all sorts of fall produce while my feet squeak on the floor boards. I even want to stop at the squash table, pick up a wiggy looking squash and say “What the hell is this?!??” Then maybe I’ll buy the wiggy squash and take it home to see if it makes good squash bread.

We used to go to Erwin’s for our seasonal cider and doughnut fix and it was all good. Of course, back then (both ways up hill in the snow) they weren’t the conglomerate thing the website shows them to be, but rather a small building with one maybe two cashiers, a wooden floor and fresh hot made while you watched doughnuts. Awww, man they had good doughnuts. Warm cinnamon sugar doughnuts, warm blueberry doughnuts and warm plain doughnuts, they were all good. We’d get a dozen or so and the bag would radiate heat all the way home. The cider was good, apply cold and made the perfect complement to the fresh happy doughnuts. I am interested in going back and checking out their new big set up, just to see what’s shaking over there these days.

Hopefully, I wont have the same experience my sis and I had tooling down to Wiard’s Orchards a couple of years ago. We were just out for the seasonal doughnut and cider fix and pulled into a giant CF “fall days and hay rides” money sucking extravaganzapalooza from hell. It cost us $5 to park. Then, if we wanted to cross the major road to the mill proper, it was going to cost us another $10 to go see what they had to offer over yonder. Of course, they did have a small stand set up in the secondary parking lot for those people who wanted to buy something on the south side of the street. There were some apples in bags as well as carameled and on a stick, pumpkins, cider and bagged doughnuts (from today? Yesterday? Who knows!). We got our cold grease soaked doughnuts and left. $5, what a rip and let me tell you, cider mill doughnuts are something you want to eat warm because once they cool they get narsty. If you are about the haunted hay rides and kiddy Halloween theater, then by all means Wiard’s is the place to be but go elsewhere, my friends, if you are just traveling for your seasonal fix.

That lesson under my belt, the next year I decided to find another cider mill. Chelsea has a nice little (but busy!) mill called, oddly, the Dexter Cider Mill that still has the old building with a wooden floor (yay!). They make only two kinds of doughnuts, plain and cinnamon sugared right there in the barn and they have all sorts of other cool things to buy. Honey, jam, maple syrup, canned sweets and veggies, it’s all here. There is also a big wagon of pumpkins and last year I bought a white pumpkin just because I had never seen one before. It was pretty cool. We did wind up parking several blocks away though. Oi.

Wasem’s is another cider mill that was recommended to me so Shar, the kids and I trundled out to BFE in Milan to check this place out. It’s smack dab in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road that crosses a dirt road. I’m talking prime Children of the Corn territory here. Anyway, they have the usual building sitting on their plop of land (I’m not sure that it has wood floors, but it does get points for being at the corner of dirt and dirt) and apples in half bushels and “what the hell” squash and a wall of doughnuts. Hot while you wait plain, cinnamon sugar, blueberry and pumpkin (OK, a wall of four or five kinds) doughnuts looking you longingly in the eyes. All they want is a nice home to go to. Cider, honey, squashes, apples, things and stuff, it’s all here. It’s all good.

If you can forgo the doughnuts, TheMan and I discovered a neat little orchard (also in Dexter) called Lesser Farms and Orchard. They have a small set up and you can get apples (a couple different varieties), honey, jams, pumpkins and firewood all at great prices. I highly recommend the trip just for the price of the pumpkins. I think TheMan and I spent $15 on 5 pumpkins last year, the smallest which was about two times the size of a pie pumpkin. The price for apples was all good too and our apple wine was made from their cider. Oh! And they are on dirt as well, but just three houses down from where the pavement ends. Not so much BFE. TheMan wants to go back, but I have the urge to explore.

So Saline. I looked up the towns in the area and discovered the Windy Ridge Orchard and Cider Mill on the south side of Saline is a pretty good possibility. Don’t know What they are all about but it’s worth a look see. Salem has Obstbaum orchards which also is a possibility (but in the opposite way). Hee. Obstbaum. It’s fruit tree in German. I’m not so sure on the dried flowers bit, but it has doughnuts and that is a beautiful thing. Hmmm, they sorta sound like a crafts fair and a cider mill all rolled together. Oh say, they have cortland apples (heh, I’m looking at their site and writing at the same time, sorry about that). Mom Q was looking for cortland apples, maybe we can pick her up a bag or two (they are coming down for the shower on Sunday).

Anyway, those are my current plans. You know, I might just pick up some fresh cider and make the world’s best hot apple cider for the shower on Sunday. It’s about that time of year, you know.

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