65075 Van Dyke Washington Twp., MI 48095
Spanning 188 acres, Westview Orchards is the result of six generations of family dedication. In 1813, Westview Orchards began as a small farm and orchard, established by Michael Bowerman shortly after his service in the War of 1812. Though Michael was awarded bounty land in an area of Detroit, now called Joseph Campau Street, he found the land unsuitable for farming due to its swampy conditions and insect infestation. Looking for fertile rolling hills, Michael travelled northward, past five lakes and found land near Indian Village (later renamed Romeo). At the time, few Americans lived in this densely wooded area. Michael's neighbors were mostly Native Americans and wildlife. In the first few years, Michael cleared his land, trapped animals and sold the skins while he began his small garden and orchard. He raised cows, chickens and pigs as well. But perhaps what Michael is best known for is his deadly encounter with a bear who attacked one of his pigs. Michael, it is said, stood up to the bear and grabbed a nearby axe to kill the bear with a few swift blows. This act of bravery earned him the name "Fearless Mike".
As Michael settled into his new home, he began developing his orchard and when it began producing enough fruit, he transported the fruit by horse and wagon to Port Huron to sell at their large farmers market. Later, Michael added dairy cattle, hogs, chickens and field crops to his growing farm. Eventually, Michael passed on his farm to his son George, who continued to expand the orchard operation and acquire more land. The farm then passed to Michael's grandson Byron, after George's death in early middle age.
The farm continued to thrive under Byron's leadership and he further expanded the farm in the early 1900's. Later Byron married Martha Edna and had five children - Martha, Edna, George, Frank and Harvey. All five children attended the 1869 Sikes School and earned their high school diplomas. Byron's son, George, stayed on to work the farm with his father, while the daughters married and left the farm. Another son, Frank, pursued a major league baseball career. The youngest son, Harvey, pursued a business degree. He was employed as a business manager at a Detroit train company. Harvey lived in Detroit with his wife, Lida, and their three children, Armand, and twins, Katherine and Russell.
When Byron's health began to fail he called and asked Harvey to return to the farm to help his brother George. Around 1915 Harvey went back to the farm with his family. Harvey built the white clapboard house (a.k.a. American Four-Square Style) in the 1920’s that the family still lives in today. After the passing of his parents and brother George, Harvey took over the farm during the pre-Depression years. Each decade after Harvey took the reigns was marked by progress and change in the farming and orchard operation. He added a dairy/beef operation & expanded the orchard acreage.
The limited capacity of Detroit Eastern Market would one day change forever the farm that Harvey had grown up on. It was August 1930 and peak peach harvest time in Michigan. Unknown to Harvey, he, like all peach growers, was having a record year for peach production. Then it happened. One day as he was loading up his stake truck with bushels of peaches to market, he got a last minute phone call from Eastern Market – “Don’t come down, Harvey. The market is flooded with so many peaches we can’t sell ‘em all.” What a shock. What could he do? He got creative and turned his truck around so the back end faced the road in front of the farmhouse, Earle Memorial Highway, and the Detroit Urban Railroad trolley stop was at the corner. That was the day that changed how Harvey, and future generations, would market their fruit and vegetables. He even named the farm and market -- Westview Orchards. Next, Harvey needed a structure to sort and sell produce from. So he purchased the Sikes one-room schoolhouse located across the highway, moved it west so it sat on the northwest corner of the intersection. It became the first farm market and grading room. Eventually he built a block cold storage/grading room to sort produce to sell at the roadside. His desire to improve grading efficiency was the driving force behind his custom-built peach grader and de-fuzzer machine. In the early 1940”s Harvey built a farm market structure that is still in use today.
As the Industrial Revolution progressed, things continued to change on the farm. Harvey's son Armand joined his father on the farm after earning his chemistry degree from Hillsdale College on a baseball scholarship. He influenced his father to gradually add tractors in place of work horses. In the 1950's the hog operation was sold. By the mid-1960's the dairy operation had been sold as well. More mechanization arrived on the farm with the introduction of fork lifts and bin boxes, replacing the small, labor-intensive Owosso crates. During the 1970's, the grading system was upgraded with the latest in grading lines - a circular, rotating table. Working with MSU Extension, he began implementing the principles of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) using insect traps and small computerized weather stations by 1980.
After the sudden death of Armand in 1981, the three women of Westview – fifth generation, Katherine, and her daughters, Abigail and Katrina, -- were suddenly forced to take charge of the farm’s day-to-day operations. Focusing on quality and efficiency, they added many new resource-conserving innovations, some invented by Abigail's husband, Bill. Armand’s dream became a reality in 1984 when they completed construction of three controlled atmosphere storage rooms totaling 15,000 bushel capacity. The family also implemented new fruit tree planting configuration called dwarf high density trellis. In 1994, the family farm was recognized by the county soil conservation district as Macomb County's "Conservation Farm of the Year" for their horticultural innovations. That was also the year that they launched their School Tour program including their restored one-room 1869 Sikes Schoolhouse as well as the start of their bakery.
The next ten years showed expansion of their offerings to include: a modern Cider Mill in their 1850 barn, remodeling of the 1869 Sikes Schoolhouse into a quaint Ice Cream & Sweet Shoppe, additional food offerings in renovated farm structures and more outdoor attractions such as the log obstacle course, and a nighttime corn maze with nightly campfires at 30 Mile Road and the M-53 Expressway.
Throughout the seasons families, organizations and corporations arrange for get-togethers at Westview. Partnering with charities has included them in 5K Orchard Run, child safety / fire safety weekend, serving as a drop-off site for Cell Phones for Soldiers and used children’s books for the Romeo Rotary Club and Macomb Literacy program, and Pedal Tractor Pull races.
Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm now spreads outward on both sides of Van Dyke and encompasses 188-acres of fruit trees and crops including strawberries, apples, peaches, cherries, pears, nectarines, sweet corn, raspberries, and fall vegetables. They have developed 25-acres for guests to enjoy seasonal outdoor farm fun and fabulous food. What started as a simple farm has evolved into a unique destination for metro-Detroiters.
The family and staff of Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm cordially invite you to visit for an unforgettable day of good old-fashioned flavors and family fun. Experience the commitment and dedication of six generations working to bring you the highest quality fruits and vegetables, as well as a place where old-fashioned values and creative outdoor fun are still part of the tradition.
Farm Market Hours:
CLOSED FOR THE SEASON
Wine Tasting Hours:
Thursdays 5pm - 9pm
Fridays 1pm - 9pm
Saturdays 1pm - 10pm
Sundays 1pm - 6pm
Other dates available by reservation for groups.
Our Winery is open year- round! For more information check out the winery page at westvieworchards-winery.com
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