Bushel bounty

If we're comparing apples to apples, expect this season's crop to be 10 times better than last year.
Marie Havenga
Sep 28, 2013

Due to unseasonably warm temperatures in March 2012, followed by freezing, the apple crop got zapped. The Michigan Apple Committee estimates the whole state produced less than 3 million bushels.

This year, get out your cinnamon sugar, rolling pin and pie crusts. Michigan's apple trees are expected to produce 30 million bushels, a crop that could ring the tills as one of the best ever — certainly the best in the last half-century.

The Michigan Apple Committee says the historical average is 20 million bushels.

“We got a nice crop this year,” said Miguel Ochoa, co-owner of A&L Farm Market in West Olive. “We've been picking for the last week or so, and the apples are really big.”

A&L is a just a bud in the apple business; 2013 is only the operation's second year, but the weekend you-pick operation is blossoming.

“We only picked a handful last year,” said Ochoa, estimating less than 2 percent of the crop survived the tumultuous temperatures. “Basically, it wasn't even worth picking them, but we picked the few that were there to sell at our farm market.”

What a difference a year makes. This year's crop is thriving and pushing 100 percent production. Some of the honeycrisp apples are close to 5 inches in diameter.

“Last year on April 29 we had a drastic freeze,” Ochoa said. “That's the one that got us really bad. The trees were all bloomed, which was abnormal. It killed all the bloom and all the apples.”

Last year, apples were so scarce that prime varieties like honeycrisp were fetching $2 to $3 per apple, according to VanderMill owner Paul VanderHeide. Cider at his Spring Lake Township cider mill was selling for $10 a gallon last season. This year, it's back down to $6 a gallon because apples are plentiful.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

Comments

gordbzz231

so, if the farmers lost money last year and crops are plentiful this year, i would expect the farmers to be making up for their losses, love michigan produce at this time of year, but, yet, you can get the same thing from down south, CHEAPER ???

gordbzz231

just like the blueberry farmers sometime ago, could not get the price they wanted, instead of giving them away or sell them, self pick, they destroyed them, oh well,

opinionscount

I just hope the bountiful harvest means a drop in prices for the consumer.

trangerfan

I grew up in Grand Haven and now live in the South. My favorite apple is Macintosh and every year our grocery would have Michigan Macintosh apples. but the last few years they are gone. There are so many different names now I wonder if they have a different name now? And I don't know what the price is for FRESH fruits and vegetables up there but down south here, its Ridiculously high priced and not even close to the same taste. I would gladly pay for a fresh apple and I only dream about having a real tomato again someday! Thanks in advance; I am dying for a Macintosh! no matter what its name is!

Lanivan

Lessthanamused: Time to get out that paring knife!

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