Apple orchards have overabundance of product this year

Alexis Klask and Alexis Klask

apple_8New prices satisfy customers’ appetites

By Staff Writer: Alexis Klask

The year of 2013 has proven to be a fantastic year for the production of apples. After speaking with owners and representatives of Markillie Orchard (Howell) and Parshallville Cider Mill (Fenton), both have said this year was definitely a vast improvement from last year.

Jack Detlefs, owner of Parshallville Cider Mill, said that apple crops are 600% higher all throughout Michigan this year.

“The conditions this year were much better for the apples,” says Sandy Detlefs, Mr. Detlefs’ wife.

Last year’s weather was so cold, that most apples were lost to frost. Also, it was so warm too early in the spring which also was a factor for lack of crops.

However, this year there has been a vast improvement being that last year 2.8 million bushels were produced in Michigan and this year about 32 million bushels of apples were grown, according to Mr. Detlefs.

Due to the large amount of apples, prices have dropped. Last year a half gallon of cider from Markillie was $6.75 whereas this year a full gallon can be purchased for $6.75. Pecks of apples will tend to range from four to six dollars depending on the type of apple being purchased.

Speaking of apples, Parshallville offers a wide variety of apples. They are most popular for their heirloom apples which are apples that belong to the 1600, 1700, and 1800 eras. Parshallville sells the following types: Spitsenburg, Rambo, Smokehouse, Golden Nugget, and Rhode Island Greening.

Parshallville also offers pies made from scratch located at the bakery right next to the cider mill. Each pie contains two to three quarter pounds of apples in each one.

After asking Mr. Detlefs why he purchased the cider mill in 1984, he replied, “We fell in love with it.”

This isn’t hard to believe given that Parshallville Cider Mill is located in a beautiful area next to the North Ore Creek. Customers are able to enjoy their cider and donuts while possibly listening to live music perform down by the waterside.

Both orchards have a popular favorite being sold and those are the Honeycrisp apples. This year, Markillie Orchard was able to produce Honeycrisp from all three different areas throughout their farm which has not happened until this season.

Markillie offers eighteen different types of apples at their orchard. Alongside the apples, they also sell four different kinds of donuts which are apple spice, apple spice cinnamon, glazed pumpkin spice and glazed blueberry.

Cider is guaranteed fresh being that it is made every Thursday so that they are prepared for the weekend, which as of right now is the only time they are open.

I spoke with Kristy Cleary about how they make the cider and she says, “It takes about an hour and a half to press…and six hours to clean it.”

It may take a while to clean, but it’s not a problem because Markillie is family owned so everyone works to help create a successful business.

“It’s become very successful for my parents and all their hard work,” says Cleary.

The Markillie has been open for about seven seasons now and with that they have accumulated 2,300 apple trees over the span of six acres.

Both orchards are open right now throughout this the fall season. Parshallville is open daily from nine in the morning until six at night. Markillie is open on Friday from two until six and on Saturday and Sunday from ten in the morning until six o’clock at night.

Given that Markillie Orchard is family owned and Parshallville Cider Mill is family-orientated, they are very unique. It’s said that people in Michigan are known for experiencing all sorts of cider mills and orchards throughout their lives. Markillie and Parshallville just want to make sure everyone has a great experience to share with their families and to make memories that will last a lifetime.

“Yes, you may have to wait in a long line, but it’s worth it because you get to be with your family and have a good time,” Mrs. Detlefs says.