Disclosure: The Michigan Apple Committee paid for my travel to attend their Apple Blogger Tour in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They did not compensate me to write this post and all opinions expressed here are my own.
For the past 4 years, all I’ve known (and honestly wanted to know about as it pertained to my job) was beef production. Having started my own consulting/blogging gig in Detroit, Michigan, I was thrilled at the opportunity to learn about another segment of agriculture by attending the Apple Blogger Tour!
Fast Facts about Michigan Apple Production:
- Michigan apples are sold in 28 states and 18 countries worldwide
- The Michigan apple industry is made up of 850 family farms
- Michigan is the 3rd largest apple producing state in the nation
- Apple “season” goes from August to June, thanks to controlled atmosphere storage
Our day began at Sietsema’s Orchard in Ada, MI. My biggest takeaway from this stop was that apple growers (and all farmer’s for that matter) have to diversify their practices and approach based on consumer needs. For example, consumer-shopping habits have gone from buying a bag or two of apples to now buying 2-3 different apple varieties during a single shopping trip.
Our next stop was to seeing apple picking in action at Youngquist Farm’s in Kent City, MI. Family owned and operated for five generations, the Youngquist’s 180-acre orchard is situated just 30 miles from Lake Michigan, providing an ideal location for growing a full spectrum of high-quality apples. The Youngquist’s grow nine varieties, including Fuji, Ginger Gold, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, Jonathan, Redcort, Rome, four different strains of Galas and five different variations of Red Delicious.
The Youngquist’s made it well-known they are proud to work alongside family to provide a healthy product – and jobs for many in the community.
We then traveled along the apple production chain to Michigan’s leading apple packer, Jack Brown Produce. I honestly missed a lot of what was being said on this stop because of the noise in the production facility- so I’ll share with pictures!
Our final stop was at Robinette’s, a famous apple orchard and cider mill in Grand Rapids, MI. We were running short on time, but believe me I made time to purchase pumpkin and cinnamon sugar donuts for my guys at home! Robinette’s is a prime example of agritoursim, a huge part making that farm to table connection for consumers. I forgot to take a picture here… I was more concerned about getting some hot cider and donuts, which I consumed shortly after purchasing. Hence, no pictures.
A big thank you to the Michigan Apple Committee for inviting me on this trip, and to Michigan apple growers for taking such pride and care into producing a delicious, healthy product for us consumers to enjoy! Hungry for more? I’ll be posting one of my favorite recipes using Michigan apples soon! Be sure to check out the MI Apples website for additional recipes using apples.
Be sure to visit the links below- fellow tour attendee’s have dished up their thoughts on the Apple Tour!
Theresa @ MI Local Food Beet: Sietsema Orchards, Farming in the Sunlight, Apple Production
Jill @ Just Jilly: 10 Delicious Fall Apple Recipes
Kerri @ Momma of 4 Cutiez: Michigan Apples Tour
Heather @ Girli Chef: Fruit and Family on the Ridge
Julie @ A Healthier Michigan: Michigan Apples: Take a Tour with Us!
Stacey @ Stacey Says: Michigan Apple Secrets Revealed
Sarah @ The Chef Next Door Apple, Fig, Feta, and Arugula Pizza
Renee @ What Mama Wants Michigan Apples Blogger Tour 2014
Regina @ The Crazy Nuts Mom How Do You Like Fresh Michigan Apples