Dining Destinations: 4 festivities to get your strawberry fix in Metro Detroit this summer

The arrival of June in Michigan means that strawberry season is in full swing, bringing families, friend groups, and farm-to-table eaters to U-Pick farms and berry-themed festivals across the state.

Versatile in recipes and perfect for eating right off the vine, this sweet summer fruit is typically available in the Midwest through early July. Don’t miss these opportunities to get your strawberry fix in Metro Detroit this year:

Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill
17985 Armada Center Rd., Armada // (586) 784-5343 // blakefarms.com

After 78 years and three generations of farming, Blake Farms has risen to the top of southeast Michigan’s destination cider mills, boasting four brick-and-mortars, a line of unique hard ciders, and community events that cycle throughout the year.

Visitors can pick their own strawberries at three out of four Blake’s locations, but the most extensive U-Pick options can be found at Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill in Armada. There, guests can harvest strawberries, raspberries, and pea pods straight from the farm (with additional produce options available later in the season), then head to the farm store and bakery for fresh donuts and cider.

“Being the first U-Pick farm in Michigan, it's more than just part of our farm — it's the very heart of what we do,” says Blake’s director of marketing Jacqlyn Bradford.

“For generations, families have come here to pick their own fruits and vegetables and create lasting memories. This tradition connects us with the community, inviting [people from] Metro Detroit and beyond to experience the simple joys of farm life. It's an honor to show our customers where their food is grown [while] keeping this tradition alive for future generations.”

This year, Blake’s is launching their brand-new Strawberry Festival — complete with extended U-Pick hours, strawberry-themed drinks, and line dancing. The Orchard will feature a limited-edition strawberry wine during the festival, which will take place Saturday, June 22, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“This year, we're celebrating an exceptionally abundant harvest and giving back to the community that supports us,” Bradford says. “The festival is a celebration filled with activities for everyone — fireworks, live music, entertainment, and of course, plenty of strawberries. We can't wait to welcome everyone and share the joy of this special occasion.”

St. Isidore Strawberry Festival
18201 23 Mile Road, Macomb // (586) 286-1700 // stisidore.church/festival

St. Isidore’s Strawberry Festival is a tradition born over 60 years ago to highlight the fruit fields that once surrounded the church. Volunteers would pick, clean, and stem the strawberries by hand, using them in the fresh baked goods that would later be sold at the parish. Now, decades later, the strawberry fields are gone, but parishioners still bake hundreds of strawberry pies from scratch every year to sell for $13 apiece at this celebration that annually welcomes people from across the mitten state.

“It's a great community builder,” says Mike Fontana, who’s served as the festival chairman for over 20 years. “Everybody gets excited — it’s the kids, the parents, the grandparents. All are welcome. We just want to spread the positive message of the church.” 

St. Isidore’s Strawberry Fest requires no entrance fee, and will run from Friday, June 21 – Sunday June 23. Along with a variety of strawberry-themed desserts for sale, visitors will enjoy an outdoor grill tent, inflatables, kids’ crafts, a themed raffle, a Friday-night car show, and more.

Verellen Orchards and Cider Mill
63260 Van Dyke Rd., Washington // (586) 752-2989 // www.verellenorchards.com

This June, Verellen Orchards and Cider Mill is celebrating 104 years of old-fashioned farming in Washington Township. Originally opened in 1920, the orchard focused primarily on apples, peaches, and plums before expanding to strawberries in the mid-1980s. Now, their U-Pick strawberries are a popular draw for locals, many of whom have been bringing their families to Verellen’s for generations. 

“It’s nice to help the community and to still be here running things like how we’ve done them forever,” says manager David Friedli. “We still do a lot of things the old-school ways. Our goal is quality and to keep the customers happy. We’re not here to be millionaires — we’re here to provide quality fruit for the people.”

After an earlier-than-expected season, Verellen’s hopes to feature strawberries at their orchard through the third week of June, with fresh cherries next in line for U-Pick availability. To top it all off, visitors can purchase strawberry doughnuts, pies, and preserves from the roadside salesroom, which is open to the public seven days a week.

Addison Twp. Firefighters Strawberry Festival
E. Elmwood St., Leonard // leonardstrawberryfestival.com

After the establishment of their original fire hall in the early 1950s, the women of Leonard baked and sold strawberry pies as a fundraiser to purchase the town’s first fire engine. Every year afterwards, the community has come together for what’s known today as the Addison Township Firefighters Strawberry Festival.

Even though Leonard’s first fire engine is now retired, the spirit of the festival remains grounded in its rural community, which has since expanded to include Addison Township. Brandy Schmidt, residing festival president and four-year board member, emphasizes the role of local volunteers in the preservation of the beloved event so many years later.

“It’s the volunteers that make this happen, and they really do it because they care,” Schmidt says. “The festival is more about the people than anything else. We have a very strong community that cares about each other. It’s the camaraderie that makes this really great. It’s a real bonding moment for the community.” 

Hosted in Downtown Leonard every third weekend of July, this small-town strawberry fest will feature a parade, food trucks, a beard and mustache contest, a magic show, a pie-eating competition, and much more. Keep an eye out for the firefighters of Addison Township, who will be serving strawberry sundaes out of the original firehouse to benefit the local fire department.

“This is an event that brings us together,” Schmidt says. “It started because of the needs of the fire department, and it’s sustained because it’s so important to the people in our community. Here, we all know each other — and if you don’t, this is the opportunity to do that. It’s something that sets us apart.” 

Photos supplied by Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill.
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Read more articles by Sierra Okoniewski.

Sierra Okoniewski is a freelance journalist with a passion for good food and intentional hospitality. She lives in Rochester, Michigan, and finds joy in eating her way around the mitten state.