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Monday, 18 September 2023 12:46

Top Picks: Orchards, U-Picks & More!

Written by  Allison Kay Bannister
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West Michigan is bountiful with orchards and farms where pumpkins, apples, and more await.

Some might say fall starts when PSLs hit the café menus, but for many it’s when the orchards haul out the hay bales, carve their corn fields, and welcome autumn revelers to reap the rewards of their harvests.

Check out this list of some of the best orchards to visit in greater West Michigan. 

Schwallier’s Country Basket
1185 9 Mile Rd NW, Sparta

It’s fair to say that you had us at bunnies and goats, but the petting farm at this Sparta destination is just one draw. They have 15 varieties of u-pick apples that are available through mid-October, plus a farm market, corn maze, wagon rides, a pumpkin patch, and cow train. They have plenty of activities that appeal to families, friends, colleagues, and couples alike—and you can even book a bonfire with all the fixings for your group.   

Ed Dunneback and Girls Farm Market
3025 6 Mile Rd NW, Grand Rapids

Though it’s been around since 1925, this farm orchard has gained a solid following over the past several years for its outdoor live music, entertainment, special events, and festivals running all summer through fall. Onsite is Pink Barrel Cellars taproom where you can get a cold brew and order food and snacks from their inspired menu, plus there’s a play area for the kids and a farm animal petting pen. 

Fruit Ridge Hayrides
11966 Fruit Ridge NW, Kent City

On top of the standard orchard fare of u-pick and ready-picked apples and pumpkins, cider and donuts, corn mazes and farm animals, this 130-year-old Kent City farm offers old-fashioned, horse-drawn hayrides that run through the woods and over their expansive acreage. There’s also farm art and pony rides, plus a bakery and market. They’re open in winter as well for sleigh rides, but by reservation only.   

Wells Orchard
8993 Kenowa Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

Though they’re open almost entirely year round, fall is when this orchard and market just southwest of downtown Grand Rapids gets into full swing. In addition to their 25 varieties of apples at peak, there’s also a pumpkin patch, and they serve fresh cider and offer fruit pies, apple turnovers, and other sweets. Fall decorations, gourds, mums, corn stalk bundles, and painted pumpkins are just a few items available in the market,. 

Robinette’s Apple Haus & Winery
3142 4 Mile Rd NE, Grand Rapids Charter Township

No West Michigan orchards roundup would be complete without a mention of this area darling. Grab a donut and cider, shop the market filled with many Michigan-themed items, or do some wine and cider tasting at the winery. And, of course, pick some apples, or just grab a bag or a bushel in their apple haus.    

DeKleine Orchards
1887 32nd Ave., Hudsonville

A sweet and tart cherry farm in summer, this family-run Hudsonville farm has something unexpected for you come October: u-pick chestnuts! Get ready for the holiday season and some requisite roasting on an open fire, or check out the recipes page on their website for more ideas on how to cook these versatile nuts. They recommend visiting their Facebook page for the most up-to-date info on picking dates and availability. 

Lewis Adventure Farm and Zoo
4180 West M-20, New Era

Yep, this one will require a little road trip, but, as the name suggests, think of it as a day of adventure! They’re open in summer, too, but starting September 2 through October 31 they put on their fall festival, and there’s tons to do and see. They boast nearly 50 farm attractions, many catering more to the littles, and they also have apple picking, a farm market, and a zoo with animals ranging from the everyday to the rare. 

Crane Orchards
6054 124th Ave., Fennville

Also a bit further afield is this Fennville favorite. U-pick of their 20-plus apple varieties starts on Labor Day, and there are also hayrides, a corn maze, and a cow train. A pumpkin patch opens later in the season. New this year, with an expected opening in November, will be a holiday drive-through light show. Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant & Winery, run by the younger generations, is also on site and not to be missed!

Harvest Moon Acres Corn Maze & Fun Park
18725 M-40 Highway, Gobles

Pack the car and the kids (or just the kid in you) and head southbound to this fall destination that’s packed with activities. Only open in the fall, starting in late September until the end of October, this park has a pick-your-own pumpkin patch, a 5-acre Corn Maze, and a Fun Zone, as well as farm animals, hayrides, and a concession stand. 

There you have it! Nope, we didn’t cover them all, but we got some good ones in here for sure. Note that many of these spots have seasonal dates and hours, and it’s best to check their websites or social media for exact hours and availability. A good number of them also have other crops in the summer, including cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and peaches, so plan ahead to visit them in 2024, too! ν

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