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On Detroit’s east side, an apple orchard is growing roots

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With all the land in Detroit, this is a natural fit

Can you imagine heading out on a nice fall day to pick apples, drink some cider, and buy fresh produce all in the same place? Within the city of Detroit?

It could happen.

On Detroit’s east side, between Charlevoix and Vernor, next to the Wolverine Center Campus, Core Orchards will transform two full blocks of blighted, city-owned property into a neighborhood centerpiece.

Core Orchards Detroit will be Detroit’s one of a kind U-Pick Apple Orchard spanning over 11 acres. It will grow Honey Crisp apples, and could accommodate up to 1,000 trees per acre.

It’s a bold idea, and one that’s now been supported by both the state of Michigan and the community. The Michigan Department of Agriculture awarded Core Orchards $155,000 earlier this year for the project, and the group recently raised another $52,000+ through a Patronicity campaign.

Matthew Wollack from Wolverine Human Services tells us that they’ve just hired Isaiah Wunsch as Chief Agricultural Officer at Core Orchards. According to Wollack, "He is basically the guru of everything apples, cherries, and farm development in Michigan, the Midwest, pretty much the world."

They’ll have a full website up next week to answer questions about the project. The campus has plans to feature a produce market, neighborhood garden plots, green spaces, and a Cider House. Detroit residents will have no cost for entry, with reduced prices on produce. They’re also coordinating with WIC and SNAP to increase access to fresh produce for the community.

Their next steps in the campaign will be to work with the city on a development agreement and work with their neighbors through the whole process. They hope to start planting in 2017.