If you haven’t been to Miller’s Big Red in Washington Township in a while, you will notice many improvements like a new pavilion, patio, pergolas, pond, small waterfall and upgraded café. Undoubtedly, the biggest change you will notice is a brand-name facility being constructed. With a plan to launch next spring, the new building will feature a restaurant, distillery, show kitchen and event space for weddings and corporate events.
Heading in a new direction and tapping into new markets, owner Jeff Mulholland wants to diversify the business, expanding into a year-round operation with a focus on food and beverages. His vision includes making their own hard cider, beer and spirits like vodka, gin and moonshine. Trellises are going up to grow their own hops for the beer. There will be a chef’s garden and show kitchen where visiting chefs can demonstrate how to prepare specialty foods. There will also be a collaboration space for local brewers looking for a place to experiment with recipes and ingredients such as local fruits or live yeast.
Also in the works is a bike park featuring a professionally-designed trail system, challenging features for all riders, groomed snow trails and fat tire bicycle rentals. It is scheduled to be completed next fall.
But, until then, Miller’s Big Red still has all of your favorite fall pastimes. The smell of doughnuts fills the air as you walk into the Farm Marketplace. Here, you can buy pies made onsite from scratch, caramel apples, doughnuts and apple cider. Eight varieties of squash and other vegetables like potatoes, onions and egg plants from local farms are also available. The walls are lined with Miller’s Big Red products like blackberry preserves, pumpkin butter, apple syrup, bourbon barbeque sauce, black bean and corn salsa, raspberry vinaigrette, strawberry poppy seed dressing and pickled jalapeno asparagus.
“The whole object is to still feel like a farm, but to give people a place to spend the day and get good food,” said Mulholland of the planned improvements.
Activities for the family include a petting farm, straw mountain and corn maze. They also offer apple and pumpkin picking. Apples available this season to pick are Mutsu (sweet and firm, for baking or eating), Jonathan (sweet, for sauce or eating), Red Delicious (sweet and crisp, for eating) and JonaGold (sweet and crisp, for baking or eating). To get in on the fun, simply check in at the counter, buy your bag for apples (if pumpkin hunting, bring back your bounty to be measured and paid for afterward), and the tractor will pick you up and drop you off at the apple orchard or pumpkin patch.
Miller’s Big Red has all the essentials to make a memorable fall experience. If you’re looking to take your time and go at a slower pace, I recommend going on a weekday. Don’t let the season pass without getting out to one of Macomb County’s many orchards!
Caitlin Gerds-Habermas works for the Macomb County Department of Planning & Economic Development, often providing content for the Make Macomb Your Home website.