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Busy-season begins at West Michigan orchards

This is the first weekend u-pick apples will be ready at Robinette's.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. โ€” With temperatures in the 60s for the rest of the week, itโ€™s really starting to feel like fall. And this weekend will be the perfect time to embrace the change of seasons.

This is the first weekend u-pick apples will be ready at Robinette's. Its orchard sits on 125 acres near Grand Rapids. 

Ed Robinette, a family member and owner, said the start of the fall season has been busy, and it'll stay that way through the end of October.

"We raise cherries, peaches and apples, but fall is our big time," Robinette said."It's the time of year when we have to make our living, about a month and a half to do it."

He said their first apple variety available for u-pick is Mcintosh, then comes Empire, Golden Delicious and Jonagold. 

"About the 1st of October is the prime-time for a lot of Apple varieties to be ripe," Robinette said. "We're still early in the apple harvest. There's a lot of varieties to go later on. So, we're just getting started."

In addition to u-pick, Robinette's also makes fresh cider and donuts on-site, has an over 6-acre corn maze, a jumping pillow for kids and wine tasting for adults. Hayrides are canceled this year due to the pandemic. 

"We're excited that people are remembering us, that they want to come out and enjoy fall together," Robinette said. "A lot of families, and even a lot more during the week I think because people's schedules are changed. Kids are not in school every day, all day. So people are doing things with their families and we're glad that they choose to come here and enjoy the weather, and what we do."

Robinette's is also taking precautions during the pandemic. All of its staff is wearing masks, it's limiting capacity indoors to 50 percent, and is encouraging people to take advantage of all the space outside.

Robinette's is open year-round. During the fall you can go seven days a week.The apple haus is open Monday though Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. The gift barn and winery are open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.

The corn maze is $8 a person. Kids ages 0 to 2 can get in for free. The jumping pillow is $5 for unlimited jumping during one day. Robinette's wine tasting is $8 per person, and includes a souvenir wine glass and a taste of five wines of your choice. Only people 21 and older are allowed in the tasting room.

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