My farm market addiction was cemented on fall college weekends. On the rare study break, friends would pile in for an off-campus road trip to cider mills (with fresh donuts) complete with glimpses of Huron River banks ablaze in color. Today, farm markets still have a magnetic draw, and so annual girls’ weekends have since detoured toward corn mazes with slices of fresh pie, and every fall color tour seems to have a market at its center. What pairs better with an autumn road trip than a stop for colorful fruits, vegetables and car snacks? Here are five top markets you can reach the scenic way.
Coveyou Scenic Farm Market, two miles south of Petoskey, might be the highlight of Petoskey’s popular Tri-County Tour fall color drive. Shop for organic, produce, jams, salsa and art like handmade birch bark baskets. Shoot what’ll likely be your fall color tour photo favorite out the side overlooking Walloon Lake. And drive. Head east from Petoskey on Mitchell Street and toward rolling hills and open fields. The 60-mile route (petoskeyarea.com) runs through Boyne Falls and Walloon Lake. (coveyouscenicfarm.com)
Zilke Farm Market, Milan, doesn’t just offer the fresh produce needed to put together a great fresh meal; it sells you the whole kit. Buy a few, a boxed lunch or some fruit and greens. Then from the farm’s 1115 Dexter St. location, head north to follow M-14 between Ann Arbor and Dexter, along the Huron River, and end with an addiction-fueling donut stop at Dexter Cider Mill. (zilkevegetablefarm.com)
Michigan Local Harvest, 12120 Red Arrow Highway, Sawyer, is run by the fourth generation of the same Southwest Michigan family, offering the best of local fruit farms — and more. Catch the road anywhere between New Buffalo and Mattawan, where it passes galleries, cafes and farm markets galore. If there’s time for just one stop, this one partners with 75 total farms to offer the best apples, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, plums, melons and more. (michiganlocalharvest.com)
Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery, Grand Rapids, has it all: great cinnamon spice donuts, fresh-pressed apple cider, orchards open for exploring and even a giant apple as a photo prop. En route, stop often for exploration. Nearby Frederik Meijer Gardens shines amid its fall foliage; the shop also is close to Cannonsburg Ski Area for great mountain bike trails and zip-line fun. (3142 Four Mile Road NE). (robinettes.com)
Seeds & Spores Family Farm, 724 Greenfield Road, Marquette, is situated at the gateway to the Keweenaw, not far from the Copper Country Trail National Byway. From the farm, continue north toward L’Anse to hike Canyon Falls and then take in as much of the peninsula as time allows. Time your visit to take in a pizza night, farm to table dinner, farm tour or herb walk. The farm specializes in medicinal herbs, tinctures, salves, teas, berries, farm-raised meats, organic vegetables or prepared foods like beef bone broth and just-made fruit jams. Call ahead to be sure the farm is open, or to schedule an online order pickup: (906) 458-8616; seedsandspores.com. ≈
Kim Schneider is an award-winning travel writer who shares her travel-savvy in every issue of BLUE.