A Bountiful Michigan Apple Harvest Season In Saugatuck
Ways To Enjoy Our West Michigan Area Apple Harvest
If apple pie is quintessential Americana, then Michigan’s apple harvest must be the heart of the country! Certainly, it’s the tastiest time of year to enjoy this delicious fruit and in Saugatuck there are so many places and varietals that people should be sure to embrace this lovely season. Whether you spend a sunny afternoon at a U-pick, or order up some of the area restaurants’ delicious Farm-to-Table meals featuring local apples, the harvest season – which runs through October – is ultimately all about the taste. These apples are crisp, juicy and fresh!
Featured: Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant, Winery & U-Pick
The area has an abundance of places to enjoy apple harvest, but the fact is Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant and Winery is the leader of the pack when it comes to apples. The family credits the Ida Red Apple Pie as the “pie that started it all”, but whether they’re used in pies, cider or simply as a vinaigrette, the tastes and freshness of Crane’s apples are scrumptious. (The popular Apple Cherry Cider was named the best flavored cider in the 2017 World Cider Awards.)
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” ~ Bernard Baruch
The Cranes have been working the farm for over 100 years, but it was Lou Crane’s idea to market custom-made fruit baskets in 1967 that expanded the offerings. In 1972 they converted the original farm barn into the restaurant and bakery area and in 2014 the winery opened.
Things To Do At Crane’s
With so many fresh apples growing on the farm, Crane’s has become a destination for apple lovers, cider aficionados and U-pick seekers. And by the way, they have 2 U-Pick Farms – each right across the street from the other.
And there are so many events and happenings at Crane’s including free concerts on the patio on Saturdays from 1-4 through Oct. 27. This is an outing you’ll want to embrace during Michigan’s apple harvest season.
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” ~ Martin Luther
In addition to the farm events we’re thrilled they’ve also expanded their offerings into Saugatuck. At Crane’s Winery and Cidery folks can enjoy wine and cider tastings as well as food pairings at the Pie Pantry Restaurant on the farm or at their tasting room and store located at 435 Water Street in downtown Saugatuck near Wickwood Inn.
The Many Apple Varieties & Recipes
And during the apple season don’t limit yourself to just one type of apple. There are 16 varieties available at Crane’s in total throughout the season. They range from the Golden Supreme, a greenish-yellow fruit that is great for cider and baking to the iconic Red Delicious, with its tall conical shape, perfect for eating right from the tree. Their yellow Ginger Gold is wonderful in salads and everyone loves biting into a juicy Gala! And, have you ever noticed how fresh apple cider changes in flavor week to week. That’s because the apples ripen at different times. Since the flavor of apple changes weekly, so does the flavor of the cider.
Are you one of the folks always looking to find new ways to enjoy apples? At the Wickwood Inn we find that the delicious Original Medieval Apple Tart is one of our go-to recipes. When we want to highlight the delicious bounty of Michigan’s apple season it’s the perfect recipe. We make it with phyllo dough, thinly-sliced Michigan apples and Grand Marnier. Give this scrumptious dish a try with the recipe below.
Crane’s Pie Pantry Restaurant and Winery, Plus U-Pick
6054 124th Avenue (M-89), Fennville, MI 49408
Other U pick and ready-to-go options include: Dutch Farm Market, Virtue Cider and Overhiser Family Orchard and MacIntosh Cellars. Plus, there are farmstands all over the place during our apple harvest season. You’ll have no excuse not to eat your apple a day.
Recipe – Original Silver Palate Cookbook Medieval Apple Tart
This light, tender, and flaky version of a regional French croustade is made with thinly sliced apples and Grand Marnier. Serve it warm with a dollop of Crème Fraîche.
12 phyllo leaves, fresh or thoroughly defrosted
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra to grease pan
1 cup sugar
Approximately 6 tablespoons Grand Marnier or Calvados
6 medium-size tart apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
- Unwrap the phyllo sheets and cover them with a damp towel for 10 minutes. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat.
- Preheat the oven to 425 °F .
- Using a pastry brush, lightly butter a 14-inch baking pan. Lay a phyllo sheet on the pan. Remember to re-cover the unused phyllo with the damp towel each time. Brush the phyllo with some of the melted butter, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the sugar and 1 teaspoon of the Grand Marnier. Repeat, using 5 more phyllo leaves.
- Arrange the apples in the center of the top sheet of phyllo in a circular mound about 6 inches in diameter. Brush them with butter and sprinkle with some sugar and Grand Marnier.
- Stack 6 or more phyllo sheets on top of the apples, repeating the buttering and sprinkling with sugar and Grand Marnier. The top (twelfth) sheet of phyllo should only be buttered.
- Trim off the corners of the phyllo sheets so you have a large round, about 8 inches in diameter. Turn up the edges of the phyllo and pinch lightly to seal. Be tidy, but don’t work too long on this; the tart should look rustic.
- Set the pan on the center rack of the oven and bake until golden, 30 to 40 minutes. If the pastry becomes too brown before this time, cover it loosely with aluminum foil.
- Serve the tart immediately or reheat gently before serving.