Something has been missing for the Ferguson family the entire fall.
When Mary Ellen Ferguson, now 74, moved her family to Fenton in the early 1980s, there was one place that was a must visit when the air started to feel cool and the leaves started to change color.
However, since Mueller’s Orchard & Cider Mill didn't open its doors for the first time in 71 years this autumn, Ferguson said she has a little empty spot in her heart.
"When you neighbors hurt, you hurt," she said."It's not just the food, it's hanging around and meeting old friends."
The Linden/Fenton Township orchard lost 100 percent of its crop because of an early bloom followed by multiple freezes which wiped much of the blossoms across the state.
“It’s the first time we won’t be open since 1941,” owner Mike Mueller said of the family-owned business, which started up in 1941. “It’s devastating.”
For the last 30 years, Ferguson said she has been taking her family to the orchard and became great friends with the Muellers. In addition to the great apples and camaraderie, she credits the Mueller's for helping to preserve the surrounding land for nature and put to use with soccer fields.
"When you are part of the orchard, you are part of history. That's what we miss," Ferguson said. "They were part of our heart and we hope they are back in business soon. Next year we will pray for good weather."
While Mueller's is closed for the season, there other many other apple orchards and cider mills you can visit in southeast Michigan.