Name your favorite apple variety and chances are, Spicer Orchards grows it! The Hartland Township family farm has been at it through good growing seasons and bad.
“Fifth generation, been here forever,” said Matt Spicer, farm manager at Spicer Orchards.
He grew up around the apple trees with his parents and today, runs the farming operation. It’s truly a family business; he said the Spicers have been farming in the Detroit area since the 1890s.
“My grandmother used to say, the best peach-growing in Michigan was on the Detroit River, that'll tell you where we're at with that one,” he said.
If you visit today, you’ll find games for the kids, an overflowing boutique and a wine room. However, their origins were a humble apple stand. Matt’s great-grandfather turned to farming to survive the Great Depression.
“He was a builder. A lot of builders lost back then, he came back into farming for a long time. Ever since, we've been apple-growers,” Spicer said.
They moved up to Hartland Township 50 years ago and they’ve been here ever since.
“And that kind of dulled down in the mid-70s or so,” Spencer said, “that's when my mom brought on school tours, that's when we opened a small market and started doing that then, which has grown huge since then.”
Any business has ups and downs, but farmers have one huge struggle: the weather. Spencer remembers the 2012 season.
“The entire state of Michigan had a wipe out. That was a big deal for us,” he said. However, the family was prepared: they save during good years to help support them as they rebuild from the bad ones.
This year, there was no spring frost and their crop is booming.
“You gotta save a little bit, that’s what we do every year, we save a little more and you’re ready for anything that'll hit you,” Spencer said.
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