Dear Crabby, What’s all the hype about Cider Mills?

Dear Crabby,

I just moved to the area from down south, and I see all these signs and advertisements for cider mills.  What is all the hype for?  What do these mills have to offer?

Sincerely, Sal Sourly

Dear Mr. Sourly,

As a lifelong Michigander, and as a Rochester Hills resident who has three cider mills within three miles of my house, I have to say that I am a big fan of them!  I’m not sure how the whole thing got started; I assume some farmer had a big crop of apples and was looking for a way to use them up.  He must  have crushed them all with the hope of making some regular old apple juice, but then decided not to do all the extra refining work and opened a roadside stand to see if it would sell as is. His assistant’s name must have been Earl I guess, so when he started asking a bunch of questions about whether it was legal or safe to sell, the farmer said, “Just sell it on the side Earl!” And Earl kept asking more questions like, “How much do we charge?” and “What do we call this stuff?” So, the farmer just kept saying in his slang accent, “Side Erl, Side Erl”.  So as people would stop to buy this new beverage of sorts and ask what it was called, Earl said, “My boss calls it Ci-der.” Okay, that may be a little far fetched or corny, but it’s the kind of urban legend that I would tell my kids when they were little. I will say though that cider has come a long way and I love that unique taste in the fall.  The Goodison Cider Mill is known for their delicious frosted blueberry donuts and for the fact that they get all their apples locally. They also have amazing pies that are fresh and hot on the weekends. The Rochester Cider Mill is very easy to get to, right on Rochester Road just north of town. But the best experience is probably from Yates Cider Mill off Avon and Dequindre! They offer the full petting zoo, the nature trail, and tables down by the river for the full experience while you eat. I will tell you that it doesn’t matter where you come from, you will love the cinnamon and sugar coated donuts and the fresh squeezed cider.  Don’t let anyone tell you that this cider isn’t safe either. These cider mills mentioned here all use either ultraviolet lights or some pasteurization in order to keep their stuff safe.  If they didn’t, would I still look so good? Well, ok, don’t go by me – go check it out for yourself, and let me know what you think! Look for that guy Earl too; I’ll bet he’s around somewhere!

Sincerely, Dear Crabby

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Stuck in a rut? Need some biased advice from a crabby old baby-boomer? Read regularly by thousands and loved by some, Dear Crabby answers questions weekly to life's challenges. Send him a note at

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