Fall is here and that means it is once again time to enjoy Michigan’s largest and most valuable crop – the apple. With temperatures unseasonably flirting with the freezing point, the race is on to harvest the prized fruit. Adding to this challenge is the fact that Michigan is enjoying it’s largest crop in nearly 10 years with an expected crop of 26 million bushels compared to the typical crop of 20 million bushels. The uptick in the number of bushels has been attributed to this year’s cool temperatures and more than average rain.
Michigan Farms & Mills
Fresh is the air in the orchards. Fresh are the fruits and vegetables we pick ourselves. Fresh is the fun we have with our families on a visit to Michigan’s farms and mills. This is the refreshing way to answer questions like â€œMom, where do apples come from?â€ This is where open-air markets and u-pick farms enliven our recipes. This is the true meaning of the phrase: farm fresh. So let’s visit the farms and mills. Because nothing refreshes our lives like Pure Michigan.
Check out the huge list of Michigan farms and mills from PureMichigan.org.
Some Michigan Apple Quick Facts – check out more at the Michigan Apple Committee website.
- Apples are Michigan’s largest and most valuable fruit crop, with a value of about $100 million annually to the apple grower.
- Value-added marketing and processing enhance the economic contribution of Michigan Apples up to $700 million of economic impact annually.
- There are over 7.5 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 37,000 acres, on 950 family-run farms throughout Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
- Small family farmers who operate their own orchards dominate the Michigan apple industry. According to statistics, 99 percent of Michigan orchards had fewer than 100 acres in apples.
- Longtime favorite varieties still dominate Michigan’s orchards. The most prevalent variety remains the Red Delicious, followed closely by the Golden Delicious. The Gala is rapidly gaining on tradition, however.
- The Honeycrisp variety is continually growing in popularity. Look for it in September and October, and enjoy it while you can, as it will most likely be gone by mid-November! A growing number of Honeycrisp tree plantings still aren’t in pace with its popularity among consumers! Honeycrisp has a crisp, juicy bite and a sweet flavor. They are best for fresh eating and also a great addition to salads!
New Kid on the Branch
A newcomer to Michigan’s apple varieties is the SeeTango. MyNorth.com takes a at this much anticipated arrival in their article – The SweeTango Apple Makes Its Northern Michigan Debut.
Five Northern Michigan apple growers were among the first in the country to plant and harvest the world’s newest designer apple, the SweeTango. The apple, developed at the University of Minnesota, is a cross between the crispy, juicy Honeycrisp (the must-have apple of the last decade, also developed by the University of Minnesota) and the sweet flavored Zestar apple. The SweeTango is “a fabulous piece of fruit,” says Mark Evans of Evans Brothers Fruit Company in Frankfort, one of the five Northern Michigan members of the Next Big Thing, the SweeTango growers’ cooperative.
SweeTango – A Sneak Preview
Find out all kinds of interest information about apples at the Michigan Apple Committee’s website including the history of apples, the growers and the most popular varieties.
Little do most people realize that there are actually thousands of apple varieties and Michigan has many antique apple farms who strive to preserve them. Absolute Michigan’s own Andrew McFarlane took note of one such orchard, Christmas Cove Farm in Leelanau in his article – Antique Apples.
Over on Michigan in Pictures there’s a cool old apple picking photo from Old Mission in the 1890s courtesy the Archives of Michigan.
Check out more apple related information and websites using Absolute Michigan keyword apple.
Michigan Apple Recipes
Honey Crisp Apple and Endive Salad with Maple Apple Vinaigrette – via Great lakes chef extraordinaire Eric Villegas
Double Apple Galette – via Great lakes chef extraordinaire Eric Villegas
Barbeque “Mopping” Sauce W/Apple Cider Vinegar, Maple and Jalapeno – via Great lakes chef extraordinaire Eric Villegas
Ginger Apple Stir Fry – via Taste the Local Difference
Grilled Chicken with Apples and Feta – via Taste the Local Difference
Apple Lime Salsa – via Taste the Local Difference