Café Manager Shane Powers, Fellow Lily Gross, and seven Hillsdale students recently visited Glei’s Orchards and Greenhouses, one of Hillsdale College’s Farm to Fork vendors in Hillsdale, MI. Greenhouse Manager Hannah Stewart showed the group around.
The 300-acre Glei’s is a multifaceted operation that has been in the same family since its founding in 1918. Ninety acres are earmarked for the orchard’s 20-plus varieties of apples; Glei’s also grows several varieties of Christmas trees and many perennials, annuals, and vegetables. A large greenhouse produces a wide variety of seasonal decorative plants. Hannah explained how any cosmetically flawed apples are sorted out from the harvest, mashed, and strained of sediment to turn into cider, which they sell on-site in a small market and to Hillsdale College and others in the fall.
The group also got to visit the sorting facility and expansive storage area, where they stood in awe of the large wooden apple-storage crates stacked at least 10 feet high. After the tour, students enjoyed fresh apple cider and commented on their good fortune to visit such a beautiful spot on a perfect day.