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How Michigan apple orchards are mixing fun with staying safe

New hours, new ordering and a lot of outdoor spaces

ARMADA, Mich.It’s Apple picking season in Michigan and -- like everything else -- it’s going to look a littler different this year.

As we make our way through the first weeks of September - apple orchards across Metro Detroit are getting ready for what’s always a very busy time of year but with some changes put in place.

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All businesses have had to change the way they operate in order to protect their customers from COVID-19 and now that apple picking season is here, Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill is planning to utilize a lot more of their outdoor space.

Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill has been updating their grounds to make it COVID-19 friendly since the pandemic hit

“We’re going to be making memories out here, but we’re just going to be doing it a little bit different,” said Andrew Blake

For starters, if you’re not comfortable stepping on the grounds, you can still get their product.

“We have an online order system,” Blake said. “If you want to get your cider, donuts brought to your car, you can order them online. We’ll bring it right to you.”

For those still looking for the full Blake’s experience, they’ve made their outdoor space much more accessible.

“One of the great things about being a farm is we have lots of land to spread people out,” Blake said. “We have over 1000 acres across our three properties.”

More outdoor dining, outdoor cider and doughnut stations and even a new tap room with large openings for great ventilation.

“It’s fun and safe, so come have a good time,” Blake said.

In the past, the cider mill would close at 6 p.m. on weeknights . Now it’s open until 8 p.m. and the taproom until 11 p.m. in hopes of cutting down the weekend crowds.

Blake’s does recognize that it could still get really crowded here on the weekend. They’re going to judge that by using the parking lot. Once it’s full, they’re going to direct people to their two other locations.

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