Sip and Cider: Detroit’s First Black-Owned Cider Mill Launches on West Side

Detroit residents are now able to enjoy the perks of a fall favorite in their own backyard as a new Black-owned cider mill and farm opens its doors on the city’s west side. Located just shy of the Lodge Freeway on Woodrow Wilson and Rosa Parks, the organic farm is bringing more than just cider and donuts to the community.

Detroit Farm and Cider is the first of its kind in the city and looks to give citizens the chance to enjoy a classic fall experience while exploring farm animals, zip-lining, and climbing walls. Owner and Detroit native Leandra King launched just in time for the fall season with plans to extend its reach.

“Essentially we’re the first Black-owned cider mill and also the first in Wayne county,” King says.

From humble beginnings, the now entrepreneur discovered her love of farming at a young age. Despite hardships, the local farmer discovered a way to find peace through gardening.

“I was actually in the juvenile system at 10. I was taken away from my father. I spent a couple years in juvie and then I aged out of the system,” King says of her upbringing. “I realized my healing and the healing from my trauma would come from the Earth.”

 

Now, equipped with her love of farming, King is looking to do something unprecedented in the city of Detroit. The farm, which features over 100 organically treated fruit trees, also provides a space where Detroiters can unwind.

“We also have music. We have different bands who come out and play,” King says. “We have a whole bunch of cherry trees.”

Complete with a running water retention pond and a zipline that extends across 100 feet, the newest Detroit attraction is looking to service the community it serves. Detroit Farm and Cider also features several programs aimed at helping youth with mental wellness.

“My goal is to tap into other arenas that are needed in the community. We have storytime with a Black author who writes stories about self-esteem. Next summer, we’re going to feature camps where kids can learn about farming,” King says.

As the pandemic has forced economic hardships on many inner-city residents, Detroit Farm and Cider is doing its part in making sure the community has access to fresh foods, weekly produce boxes and staples such as cider and donuts. With the use of their EBT cards, visitors will be able to purchase fresh produce along with cider and donuts.

“As long as they’re not purchasing hot food. Not only can they purchase cold cider and donuts, we have Zsa Zsa Soups and it’s healthy and organic,” King shares.

Despite not being able to produce its own cider this season, Detroit Farm and Cider is keeping a fresh supply of donuts and cider for its customers and already has production plans for next year’s harvest.

“This year we weren’t able to produce our own donuts and cider, but next year, we’re going to have vegan donuts and press our own cider. We’re now receiving cider and donuts from Miller Orchards.

With no intention on slowing down, the farm is gearing up for Michigan’s cold winters. Doors will be open through the colder months, and operations on the farm will continue.

“We have the heated greenhouses, so we do plan on staying open,” King shares.

Since officially launching in October, the cider mill has been met with support from the community. With a steady flow of visitors and increasing, Detroit Farm and Cider is planting its roots in the city it loves.

“I’m so excited about the support we’re received. It’s been overwhelming,” King shares. “This is where my heart is. I connect to this neighborhood. I am not leaving Detroit.”

Admission to the cider mill is free while attractions and food have their own charges. For more information, visit their website at www.detroitfarmandcider.com

 

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