There are few activities that embody fall as much as apple picking. Luckily, those of us who live in Michiana have a variety of options for going to U-Pick farms to pick apples, drink cider, and purchase an apple pie.
My friend, husband, and I spent today at Tree-Mendus Fruit in Eau Claire, MI, which is about 45 minutes north of South Bend. The day couldn’t have been much better – blue skies, a perfect 78 degrees, and a nice breeze. We wanted to visit a new farm in the area, and we had heard that Tree-Mendus has more than 200 varieties of apples, which is pretty impressive.
When you pull into Tree-Mendus’s parking lot, there’s a farm market that sells and samples apples and a snack bar that makes their famous waffle boats – litterally, a waffle shaped like a canoe that’s filled with apple or cherry goo and topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. They also sell tons of jam, local Michiana honey, and other fruit, including plums.
Near the farm market, there’s a playground for children and a pen with two extremely friendly goats. Of course, we had to say hi to the goats and give them a good scratch on the head before we hopped on the wagon to head out to the orchards.
Once you get out to the orchards, you’re handed a bucket and a plastic bag – either a half bushel ($24) or a peck ($14). You then head out into the fields and pick the apples that you like. When we went, there were about ten varieties that were in season, including Red Delicious, Gala, Golden Delicious, Macintosh, Holiday, Cortlands, and Empires.
Over the years, we’ve been to several orchards in the area. Tree-Mendus is by far the largest. The Farm Market also gives it the traditional apple orchard feel. We also enjoy picking apples, peaches and concord grapes (and sampling wine) at Lemon Creek Winery and Orchards, about 40 minutes north of South Bend in Berrien Springs, MI. Lemon Creek is quite a bit cheaper than Tree-Mendus; Like Tree-Mendus, it’s also very beautiful. A half bushel of apples is only $15 at Lemon Creek, $9 cheaper than at Tree-Mendus.
If you live closer to La Porte, Garwood Orchard also has an option to pick your own apples and there’s a Farm Market/grocery on premises. In my opinion, Garwood is not nearly as pretty as Tree-Mendus or Lemon Creek, but, if you’re just looking to pick apples, it gets the job done.
9351 East Eureka Rd.
Eau Claire, MI 49111
Lemon Creek Winery and Orchards
533 E Lemon Creek Rd.
Berrien Springs, MI 49103
5911 W 50 S
La Porte, IN 46350