- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

WILLIAMSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - For fans of cider and the charm of cider mills, the options are sweeter than ever.

Especially for those living in eastern Ingham County.

Bob and Jana Barkham are making apple cider and doughnuts at their 50-acre farm just outside Haslett. They actually started last year but got in only three weeks after getting their “ducks in a row.”

But now they’re going full bore. Cider production will continue until Nov. 22, the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

“Our cider is a blend of a variety of apples,” Bob Barkham told the Lansing State Journal ( https://on.lsj.com/1kMvc4D ), adding that his business, Barkham Creek Farms, makes “a good unpasteurized, filtered cider.”

“There’s a difference,” he said. “A lot of stuff today is pasteurized and it kills everything that’s natural and good for you in it.”

They make about 150 gallons a week, he said.

“That’s good,” Barkham said as he sipped cider he’d just pulled out of the refrigerator. “I wonder who made that.”

Cider-making is done out back in what once was a garage. It’s also a family affair: Son Bobby, 10, sorts the apples and his younger brother, 9-year-old John, runs the conveyor that takes the apples to the washer.

Bob, 55, and Jana, 45, handle the pressing of the pulp into juice.

Bob Barkham got an early introduction to cider making while growing up on his family’s farm in Rochester. The farm had its own cider mill, and today that business, Rochester Cider Mill, is run by Bob’s nephew Trevor.

Bob Barkham came to this area to attend Michigan State University, where he studied horticulture and landscape design. He bought the current farm property 12 years ago.

Jana was born in what now is the Czech Republic. She came to this country 16 years ago.

“I grew up on a farm, but I came here so I wouldn’t have to work on a farm,” she said, laughing at the irony.

She studied nursing at Oakland University and works weekends at Sparrow Hospital.

Their farm is more than cider. Bob calls the cinnamon-sugar doughnuts “addictive” and they make plan ones, too. The Barkham greenhouses yield flowers in the summer, and during the fall they switch over to pumpkins, squash, corn and other produce.

There also is a child-friendly maze.

“It’s only 5 acres, Bob said. “It’s not overwhelming.”


Information from: Lansing State Journal, https://www.lansingstatejournal.com

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