FAMILY, FEATURE STORY

Is It Really Fall If You Don’t Go Apple Picking?

Have you gone apple picking yet? Here in Michigan, visiting an apple orchard and pumpkin patch are very popular fall traditions. A couple of weeks ago, we took our little ones to Westview Orchards and Winery in Washington, Michigan to go apple picking. It was our first time visiting an apple orchard so we were really excited to try this fall activity.

Thankfully, the orchard is not too far from where we live. This made it easier for us to get the kids ready and over to the farm during its operating hours. Since welcoming Zaya, Travis and I are still adjusting to having a new baby and five children to care for. We haven’t had the best of luck with getting to places on time.

We’ve visited Westview a few times before– once during the late summer and another time during the fall season. One time Travis and I went to the orchard for a day date. That was a lot of fun! We enjoyed eating donuts, sipping on hot apple cider, and snuggling together in front of a bonfire.

Here are some photos from our time apple picking at Westview Orchards.

Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan

I wish I would have brought my tripod with me so we could have gotten a family photo of the six of us. It’s a little challenging getting a family picture because the kids are always bouncing around and acting silly. Every time I try to take a group photo of them, they make goofy faces or start moving around. Haha!

It’s very rare I get a good photo of all the kids smiling at the same time. (Parents, I know you can relate!) That’s why I like to capture candid photos of them. Those are always my favorite type of photos! Pictures of the kids in action and just acting naturally are the best photographs you can take of children, in my opinion.

The kids loved the cider donuts and exploring the farm. Westview Orchards and Winery has a big playground area for kids, but we didn’t play on the playground this time. A few other fun features at the farm are a pumpkin patch, corn maze, farm market, and winery. Okay, the winery is fun for Mom and Dad! 😉

Of course, some of the activities have been modified to adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. I think the team at Westview did a great job to make sure visitors can still enjoy visiting the farm. They even took time to tape off a social distancing section on the tractors so that way patrons can safely social distance.

Westview Orchards and Winery
Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan

I loved taking photographs at the apple orchard. There were so many unique ways to photograph our time picking apples.

Here’s a photography tip if you’re looking for unique ways to photograph family outings: take pictures of objects you find at the event/location. Then find something that will make a good background. It can be a colorful wall or beautiful scenery.

In my picture above, I held an apple out in front of my camera and used the apple trees for the background.

Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan
Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan

For our homeschool studies, we have been learning about the autumn season, apples, and pumpkins. I checked out from the library many books about apple picking and other fall traditions. I planned our trip to the orchard to go along with our autumn unit study. It was a lot of fun to see the kids make connections to what we had learned about autumn, farm life, and fall produce.

When they started to feel a little cold, Zhen, Zechariah, and Zephaniah would run under the big wagon and snuggle up together with their Paw Patrol blanket. They would just giggle and talk about how much they loved the apple orchard.

Zhen asked if we could use the apples to make an apple pie. Travis thought that was a great idea and said he would teach them how to make a homemade pie. I’ll have to share the recipe and pictures of how it went!

I didn’t realize Westview Orchards was so big! From the road, it looks as if the farm is smaller, but a quick tractor ride through the farmland proved me wrong. According to Westview’s website, the farm is 188 acres of land and it is has been a family-owned business for six generations now!

There are a variety of apple types at Westview. We focused on picking Gala and McIntosh apples. We paid about $20 for two half-gallon bags. The kids go through apples like its candy so two half-gallon bags were perfect for our family size. Our apples that we picked lasted us about two weeks.

Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan
Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan

Even though it started raining, we still enjoyed picking apples. We had brought extra blankets and an umbrella with us. Next time we go apple picking, I will make sure the kids and I wear our rain boots if it’s a rainy day.

It was really muddy and there were a lot of mushy apples on the ground. This is perfectly normal for an apple orchard because apples fall from the tree or people pick apples and drop them on the ground. Wearing boots, especially rain boots, will protect your feet and clothes from getting dirty and wet.

Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan
Travis apple picking at Westview Orchards in Michigan

Zaya was awake at the beginning of the visit. I wore her in the Boba the whole time. Once I started walking around, she fell asleep. We could have brought our stroller with us, but we decided to take our wagon instead. That way we could give the kids a ride if they didn’t feel like walking anymore. Plus, wagons make great picture props when you’re at an apple orchard!

The kids loved picking the apples by themselves. I think they were amazed to see apple trees in person because they’re always used to getting apples at the grocery store or farmers market. It was a great learning opportunity for them to see that apples grow on trees. The boys kept saying in wonderment, “Apples really grow on trees?!”

Apple picking with the kids
Westview Orchards and Winery

One of the things I loved the most about apple picking was the delightful aroma from the apple orchard. I can smell the fragrance now just thinking about it! It’s not like the smell of store apples. The apple orchard has this earthy, sweet scent to it. I wish I could’ve bottled up it to take home with me.

Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan
Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan

Apple picking will definitely be one of the fall activities we do next season. I hope next time I can get Elijah and Michala to go with us. They weren’t able to attend this time because they both had to work.

We decided to visit the apple orchard on a weekday to avoid a crowd. Not just because of COVID, but because it’s easier for us to manage all of the kids. We pretty much had the apple orchard to ourselves. There was only one other family who was apple picking at the same time as us.

Apple Picking at Westview Orchards and Winery in Michigan

After we finished picking apples, we had a quick lunch in the mini van. Then we went to the farm market to get cider donuts. We bought a bag of a dozen donuts so we could bring some home to Elijah and Michala.

Confession: I probably ate one too many donuts! Haha! But I can’t help it. I love cider donuts! They are too hard to resist, especially the cinnamon cider donuts. SO GOOD!

cider donuts at Westview Orchards
Enjoying cider donuts at Westview Orchards and Winery
Eating cider donuts at Westview Orchards and Winery

I had wanted to take the kids to the pumpkin patch, too, but we ran out of time. If we have time next week, we might try to go. There are so many great cider mills and farms in Southeast Michigan that it’s hard to pick just one place to visit.

A lot of people I know went to Blake Farms for their apple picking and pumpkin patch. I love Blake Farms apple cider and I have always wanted to visit. It’s definitely on my Michigan travel wish list for next year!

We had a great time visiting an apple orchard! I’m glad we were able to go apple picking before the season for it ended. Apple picking season is usually from September to October so make sure you plan a visit soon!

Do you plan on visiting an apple orchard with your family this fall?


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All photographs are courtesy of Jennifer Hamra for Good Life Detroit.

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