Since I live in California fall is but a blip on the seasonal weather screen. While most places have four seasons we have two: hot and hotter. Usually we can count the number of days on both hands that we have experienced the seasons of spring (5 this year) and fall (8 days) each year.For a Midwest born girl it truly is a sad state of affairs.
I confess that I miss the changing colors of the leaves. The chill in the air when fall arrives. The first frost on the grass and trying to ward off freezing temperatures under a blanket during the football games at the local high school. But what I really miss is cider. The fresh crisp and oh-so-sweet taste of those just pressed apples as the juice first tickles your tastebuds on the way down. And of course, you cannot have cider without the perfect chaser…a steaming cinnamon sugar donut right out of the bubbly hot oil. To me the smell of fall is warm cinnamon donuts and apples.
(The Cider Mill As I Remember It)
When I was a kid my parents used to bundle my sister and I up and make the annual pilgrimage to the Franklin Cider Mill in Franklin, Michigan. I can still remember watching the water wheel going round and crushing loads of apples right before my eyes; the golden brown nectar spilling into the trough on the way to being bottled. There was something magical in seeing the process of those just picked apples turning into something so sweet and delicious. I loved everything about it and still do. Recently, I was fortunate to re-visit the Franklin Mill and it still has the same charm that I remember even though things are done quite differently now. And if under oath I would swear that the building seems to have shrunk since I was 8 years old but the special flavors of fall are still exactly as I remember.
Two years ago on a trip to see my dad he took me to a cider mill in his area. With hayrides, fresh donuts, a zip line and all the cider you could possibly drink it was a fun way to kill a little time. VerHage Fruit Farms & Cider Mill sits just outside Kalamazoo and besides your typical fall fare they celebrate Christmas in a big way with elves, reindeer and pony rides. They even have a tractor driving school complete with certificate.
Its a place I would love to create memories with my own kids if only we lived nearby.
So this fall, search out your nearest Cider Mill and take the kids. You’ll never regret the time you spend together sippin’ on cider and munching on donuts.