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Staff Pick, Readers' Choice

Best Cider Mill 

Blake’s Orchard

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17985 Armada Center Rd., Armada; 586-784-5343; blakefarms.com

Not all “apple orchards” are alike. Some of them can be a gauntlet of overpriced crap, inflated slides, low-value hayrides, microwaved donuts, and other carney-grade trickery designed to bleed off every dollar in your wallet. But no such disappointments should haunt you at Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill. First of all, this is real apple country — with Armada being home of the Applefest. Plus there is a lot to choose from, as Blake’s apple empire encompasses the Armada mill, two Armada orchards, and another one in Almont. But it’s the mill that has the petting zoo for the kids and the orchard products for your winter larder: jams, ciders (including hard cider), etc. Best of all, they do offer U-pick, just like the old days, where you can pick a minimum of $15 of produce per car, starting in mid-June. No pets allowed. —Michael Jackman

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