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Two new routes added to Michigan apple orchard travel site

Contact: Denise Yockey
(800) 456-2753

(DeWitt, Mich.) – The fall color tour season is quickly approaching and apple orchards across the state will soon be in full swing showcasing the many delicious apple varieties Michigan has to offer, as well as freshly pressed cider and locally made apple pies, donuts and other desserts.

For those wanting to experience some of the state's finest apple country, the web site http://www.michiganappletours.com/ offers turn-by-turn directions to take you from one outstanding orchard to the next.

Originally developed by Promote Michigan in 2007, the web site now features five driving routes, including two recently added tours in Central East and South East Michigan. Each trip includes directions, as well as maps, photographs and contact information – including website links whenever possible – for the featured properties.

“The whole apple orchard experience is something unique to Michigan and very worthwhile,” said Denise Donohue, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee.  “This year we decided to add two new routes to increase the options to tourists traveling the state in search of some of the finest ciders and apples around.”

The Central East tour is the longest on the site, at 280 miles and nine counties, starting and ending at Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. Johns. Traveling as far as Flint and Saginaw to the east and Greenville to the west, the route includes 10 farms in Clinton, Ingham, Shiawassee, Genesee, Saginaw, Bay, Midland, Gratiot and Montcalm counties.

In the South East region, begins and ends at Cobblestone Farms in Ann Arbor, covering 225 miles. This trip skirts the Metro Detroit area as it travels through Washtenaw, Livingston, Genesee, Oakland and Macomb counties with stops at 13 destinations.

“I was pleased to add two new routes to the tour web site,” Promote Michigan's Dianna Stampfler said.  “The Central and South Eastern routes are rich with agricultural destinations and historic farms all within a short drive of major metropolitan areas. I think everyone will enjoy traveling these routes in search of great fall fun.”

The original tours feature some two dozen orchards, with an additional 55 farms listed, along three main routes traveling through Northwest, Southwest and Central West Michigan.

The southwest route travels 131-miles, beginning and ending at the South Haven Convention & Visitor Bureau.  This trip takes tourists through Van Buren and Berrien counties with stops in Bangor, Coloma, Eau Claire, Niles, Baroda, Berrien Springs and St. Joseph.

The route through Central West Michigan is about 68-miles long, starting at the Coopersville Farm Museum.  It travels through a heavily populated growing region known as “The Fruit Ridge,” which includes Conklin, Casnovia, Kent City, Sparta and Grand Rapids.
The 92-mile North West route starts at the Traverse City Visitor Center and travels north through

Williamsburg, Kewadin, Atwood/Ellsworth and Bellaire before heading back to town.  Side trips along the Old Mission and Leelanau Peninsulas are also spotlighted.

According to the Michigan Apple Committee, apples are Michigan's most valuable fruit crop, with a value of about $100-miilion annually to the apple grower. There are more than 7.5 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 37,000 acres on 950 family-run farms throughout Michigan's Lower Peninsula – making apples the largest fruit crop grown in Michigan.

See the attached Michigan Apple Fact Sheet for additional information. Or, for more about Michigan apples, log on to http://www.michiganapples.com/

Resources for this project were provided by the Michigan Apple Committee, Michigan Department of Agriculture, Travel Michigan and Michigan Land Use Institute.