DETROIT (AP) — Nestled on Lawrence and Woodrow Wilson streets in Detroit’s Dexter Linwood neighborhood is a 4-acre orchard that’s bringing the community together.
Detroit native Leandra King started Detroit Farm & Cider, an urban farm and cider mill that uses a vacant city block to grow fresh food all year, according to the Detroit Free Press.
The property has over 140 trees that stripe across the property, and vegetable patches line the garden. Half of the farm consists of apple trees, but the orchard provides diverse vegetables and fruits to the west-side neighborhood.
Depending on the season, the farm can grow cherries, plums, pears and many vegetables. Currently, the cider mill is selling doughnuts and cider from Parmenter’s in Northville.
The farm has a few animals, a beehive for fresh honey and a zipline — which an employee built. The cider mill also offers hayrides around the orchard.
At first, the cider mill ran into problems with city permits, which threatened the existence of it. Detroit Farm & Cider posted to Facebook that a few people helped nudge the city to process the proper permits.
Detroit resident Saceena Sandlia brought her kids to the cider mill after seeing it on Facebook.
“This gives the kids something to do especially during the pandemic,” she said. “I feel like it brings the community together.”
In a city where most children play on metal play structures, the cider mill gives kids the chance to run around in an open, natural field with the farm’s goats and chickens running alongside.
The cider mill’s creation wasn’t intentional, said Zee Chahine, who works at Detroit Farm & Cider. One day, the farm hosted Dixon’s Violin to give the community a relaxing evening of music.
The performance was before the farm converted to be part cider mill. After, people kept coming to the farm for its fall activities, so they decided to keep the cider mill open.
“We just want to bring the community together. That’s literally the goal,” Chahine said. “It wasn’t really planned for us to be starting this year. It was a plan more for next year, but it just happened, and we’re really, really happy about that.”
Along with the orchard, the farm has three greenhouses and an aquaponic system. The cider mill offers produce boxes, giving people a sample of in-season fruits and vegetables that are all grown on the farm. The community garden accepts EBT and SNAP for the produce boxes.
The quaint orchard tucked in between neighborhood streets offers Detroiters an experience that’s usually only available in the suburbs.
Tina Massey, who took her grandkids to the cider mill, said she’s never seen anything like this in the city.
“I always went to apple orchards that were far away. This is so close to home, so I wanted to go.” Massey said. “This is just amazing, and I just think it’s a wonderful thing. The kids are enjoying the animals and love climbing on the trees.”
Admission into the orchard is free, and the doughnuts and cider range from $1 to $2. The hayride will cost $3.
Detroit Farm & Cider is open Friday through Sunday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. until December.
— to www.ourmidland.com