A Century of Michigan Apples
Pressing Forward since 1878
This property on 32 Mile has been home to generations and been host to countless families over the past century.
From starting as a farm in the late 1800s to being the inspiration for your favorite gum, there's rich history in these fields. We are happy to continue the tradition of host and harvest!
We want to share and preserve the extensive history of the Orchard, and are constantly researching & learning from past owners. This page will be updated periodically as we learn more!
Patriarch Jacob Hosner emigrates to Macomb County and settles in Bruce Township near Nowlan Lake on 160 acres of timber land. He clears some of the forest to build a log cabin and furrows land to create fields and a farm.
One of his eleven children, Jesse Hosner, works on the farm and is an active part of the agricultural community. He retires in 1904 and moves to Oxford, Michigan.
The homestead is maintained by Jesse's three children: William, George & Carrie. William Hosner graduates Romeo High School in 1893, then from the Law Deptartment of Michigan University in 1898. He practiced law in Romeo, was influential in political circles, appointed postmaster of Romeo, and also was an active member of the Masonic Lodge.
- Information and Photo courtesy of the Romeo Community Archives
Ben Mossman (co-owner of the Wrigley Supermarket chain) partners with Sam Franco to purchase Big Red Apple Orchard. Ben invested in apple orchards to supply the Wrigley Supermarkets. He owned orange groves in Florida and 12,000 acres of land in Romeo to grow apples.
Ben and his wife Tillie enjoy personally running the new and trendy "pick-your-own" style of Orchard. They love talking and connecting with customers. His advertising: "The most Beautiful Apples grown!" was posted on billboards. The Orchards were filled with Jonathan, Red Delicious and Macintosh apple trees.
Wrigley Chewing Gum Company was looking for a name for their new red colored Cinnamon gum. Ben influenced their decision. The new gum: "Big Red" was introduced!
Bernard & Jane Miller purchase Big Red Apple Orchard and changed the name to Miller's Big Red Apple Orchard.
Bernard (Bernie) was a bricklayer by trade. He built a home for his bride Jane next door to his parents Farmhouse in Sterling Heights. Bernie's father Raymond raised chickens during the depression. He and his wife: Gertrude used the 'chicken money' to buy apple trees, and planted 17 acres of apple trees across the street from their home. As the trees matured, they began to sell apples from their garage. The business expanded. After Raymond passed, Bernie & Jane bought the business from widowed Gertrude and traded houses. Bernie was back in the home he was born in.
No more brick laying! Bernie expanded the 'Fruit House' named "Miller's Orchard" as the growing store was called. In the 70's Bernie and Jane had purchased a 120 acre farm south of Almont in order to plant MORE trees to supply their thriving business. The Macoun trees growing at Big Red are grafted from the trees at the Almont Farm, originally grafted from the Macoun trees planted in 1939 by Bernie's late father Raymond Miller.
Bernie Miller's sons: Ken and Ray step forward to operate the Orchard, which spans 110 acres. It is still as popular as ever and features a cider mill, fudge room and a busy bakery for hot donuts.
For several years, Miller's Big Red is owned by various investment groups. It was placed up for auction in November 2022.
In December 2022, Big Red was purchased by Rob & Trisha Misiewicz. The couple's goals are to restore and revitalize the Orchard, complete construction projects that were left unfinished, and utilize regenerative farming practices to better suit the land.
Rob & Trisha look forward to making new memories and traditions for their family, the orchard, and all those new and existing families who have come to love Big Red.