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Northern Michigan: Orchards deliver millions of apples each year


Overview of the Michigan apple supply, complemented by charts from Agronometrics.


Original published in FreshPlaza.com on October 11, 2021 

With a cooler climate, proximity to lakes and nutrient-rich soil, generations of northern Michigan farmers have found this to be an ideal place to grow their produce. More than 14.9 million apple trees covering 34,500 acres make the state the third-largest producer of apples in the country.

Top US Apple producers after Washington 
 (Volumes in Lb of apples in the US Market)
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

Grown mostly north of Grand Rapids, the apple crop is one of the state's largest cash-value fruit crops. Harvesting starts in August and ends in October each year. This season, the state is expecting to harvest 18.25 million bushels of apples (766.5 million pounds); a smaller than usual crop because of April’s freezing temperatures.

Volumes (in Lb) of apples from Michigan in the US Market
Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics.
(Agronometrics users can view this chart with live updates here)

There are 775 family-run farms in Michigan growing apples, many that have continued the tradition over several generations.

Though a smaller crop this year, the fruit is looking good and there is plenty to enjoy. Diane Smith is the executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, a commodity group established in 1939 to represent Michigan apple growers. In a recent statement she said: “When apple trees produce a smaller crop, energy is stored and directed toward production for the next crop. The industry is hopeful we’ll see a larger crop next year.“

The News in Charts is a collection of stories from the industry complemented by charts from Agronometrics to help better tell their story.

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