(WWJ) -- The votes are in and The Big Apple has been crowned!
After narrowing it down from 32 of Michigan’s most popular cider mills and orchards, WWJ listeners have voted Yates Cider Mill in Rochester Hills as the state’s top location for cider, donuts, and overall fall fun.
The oldest cider mill in the state of Michigan, Yates Cider Mill was first established in 1863 during the Civil War when Caroline S. Yates, wife of William Henry Yates, purchased 80 acres of land along the Clinton River.
After improving the dam and mill building that sat on the land -- which was then a part of the Township of Avon -- the Yates family started a mill business to service local farmers and other settlers.
By 1876, the family began planting apple trees and pressing apple cider, which had become a hot commodity in the area.
In 1894, the original mill was replaced by an updated structure, and a 26-inch water turbine was installed. Both that mill and the water turbine are still standing today.
Fast-forward to the early 1900s, and Yates was operating exclusively as a cider mill.
The next major shift came in the 1930s, when Harry Yates — son of Frank Yates, who ran the mill before him — added donuts to the menu, cementing a now-iconic pairing in Michigan.
In 1959, Harry Yates sold the property to close friends Charles and Ruth Posey, who had worked for the Yates family for many years.
Later, the couples’ son Les Posey stepped in to run the mill, and remained at the helm from 1975 through 2006. Upon his retirement, Les Posey’s daughter Katie and her husband Mike Titus took over, and continue to run the cider mill to this day.
Over the past 160 years, Yates Cider Mill has remained a mainstay of the Metro Detroit region, providing delicious treats and great memories to generations of Michiganders.
Yates has become a fall tradition beloved by so many, and we are glad to crown them The Big Apple of WWJ’s 2022 Mill Madness tournament!
Visit Yates Cider Mill this fall at 1950 E Avon Road in Rochester Hills, and check out our map of the Top 32 Michigan cider mills that were submitted for the Mill Madness bracket by WWJ listeners: