Detroit native opens first cider mill in the Motor City

The family-owned enterprise Detroit Farm and Cider is a first-of-its-kind for the majority-Black city

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As a kid, Leandra King loved visiting the cider mill every autumn, but visits were limited as the trip required traveling outside county borders.

Now, the Detroit native has recreated the classic fall tradition in her hometown after launching the first cider mill in the Motor City, WXYZ reports.

“It was one of my fondest memories, going to Parmenter’s,” King told the local ABC affiliate. “I’ve been to Blake’s. I just remember going to Yates as a kid, and I just wanted to recreate that for the city of Detroit.”

Leandra King, founder of Detroit Farm and Cider (via website)

According to research by American Express, Black women are starting businesses at the fastest rate of any racial group. Since 2007, the number of firms owned by African-American women has grown by 164%.

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The family-owned enterprise is called Detroit Farm and Cider, and it’s a first-of-its-kind for the majority-Black city. It’s located in a mostly residential area on the city’s west side. The roughly four-acres cider mill also resides in a neighborhood with a rich history, the outlet said.

“So, this used to be Peck Elementary School. It was Divinity of the Sacred Heart before it was Peck Elementary School, and the city knocked it down,” King told 7 Action News while touring her orchards that consist of 139 fruit trees.

Last weekend the cider mill launched its first official season. It has everything you’d expect to find at a cider mill: cider and doughnuts, pumpkins and hay rides. But it also has some unexpected features like goats, a solar powered farm operation, fudge, a bonfire area, beehives, a rock wall tree, a zip line, local food vendors and live music.

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Admission to Detroit Farm and Cider is free. Hayrides are for purchase, while food and drinks are can also be obtained with food stamp benefits. Making sure Detroit Farm and Cider is affordable and beneficial to the surrounding community is one of King’s top priorities. She’s currently offering a discount for Detroit Public Schools.

The Midwestern city’s population of about 670,000 is nearly 80% Black. With a median household income of less than $29,500 in 2018, about 36% of Detroiters live in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

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