It's September here in the great state of Michigan and nothing could be more "Pure Michigan" in the Fall than hitting up cider mills for donuts, cider, slushes, and family time together. Last year the Writebol's ventured around to half a dozen or so cider mills on our Saturday mornings and developed an pretty airtight rating system to evaluate the local mills. This year is no different, we're back at it and we kick off the year with one of our favorites and a strong contender for "Best Cider Mill In Michigan", Three Cedars Farms.
The Scoring System
We evaluate our cider mill experiences on the basis of five categories:
- Attractions (stuff the kids like and keep them playful and occupied)
- Cider (it is a cider mill after all)
- Donuts (need I say more? fluffy, cinnamon and sugar coated cake donuts)
- Cider Slushes (another, but different form of the cider strategy)
- 🐝 (kids hate them!)
Each member of the family gets to vote in each category on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being "awesome", 1 being "that was awful"). This year we also have a few friends joining us on the road trips so we've decided to give them a vote whereas they can assess up to 5 bonus points total based on their experience. The top score any cider mill could receive is a 105. We'll see if that happens.
So what was our experience at Three Cedars like in 2018? For the first day of the month, and the first showing of the year I would say it was a pretty strong experience. The Kuhner's were our first bonus point guests (and cider mill rookies). Here's what you'll find at Three Cedars
This place is the Taj Mahal of Cider Mill attractions. They have a TON of things for families to do. From hay rides, to play structures, to a corn box, to a bunch of fun animatronic farm elements, to a "train" ride, there's a lot to take in here. Our kids have never pushed back on us when going to Three Cedars. I will say, as they get older the kids seem to enjoy the attractions a bit less but at age 10 and 8 they are still having a blast.
Cumulative Score: 18
It's early in the season, so the fresh pressed cider and the ripeness of the apples are probably still a few weeks away. Three Cedars cider is classic stuff though. Very good and enjoyable.
Cumulative Score: 14
We love our donuts. Okay, I love donuts. And these were a really really good start to the season. Much like coming out on Opening Day in college football and hanging 42 points on your opponent, Three Cedars gave a strong donut showing (at least to me) on day one of Cider Saturdays. They were warm, cinnamon and sugary, and just the right cake texture.
Cumulative Score: 16
Three Cedars was doing so well, and then the slush came. It was less ice-appley mixture and more cider with some watery cold bits in it. Today was a bit warm at testing time, but not warm enough that the slush consistency shouldn't be up to par. We were a bit bummed on that account.
Cumulative Score: 13
Almost a perfect score. We never, ever, ever see or get pestered by bees at Three Cedars. Allison must of seen one because she gave them a four on that account, but the rest of us love being able not to be attacked mercilessly by the Cider Foe.
Cumulative Score: 19
Three Cedars is great. For a family-oriented experience that gives you lots to do and really captures the essence of Fall well, Three Cedars is your cider mill of choice. It was a great day weather-wise, the crowds were not overwhelming, and the food and drink were good starts to our cider-season. Our guests assessed +3 bonus points to the cumulative score which lands Three Cedars with a total score of 83. That's not shabby to start the season.