Michigan is seeing an apple crop that is coming close to last year’s record crop for the state. “The crop is looking very good. We’ve been fortunate enough to come back with another nice crop that is probably 90 percent of last year’s record crop,” says Scott Swindeman of Applewood Fresh Growers LLC in Sparta, Michigan. “We’re feeling pretty good about that.”
"We’ve been fortunate enough to come back with another nice crop that is probably 90 percent of last year’s record crop,” says Scott Swindeman.
Some of the earlier varieties for Applewood Fresh have finished harvest or are about to finish. SweeTango should be done picking this weekend while Rave harvest finished two weeks ago. Harvest on McIntosh is just about to start while Gala harvest is going strong. “Premier Honeycrisp are pretty much off the trees and regular Honeycrisp is starting in some regions now. Next week regular Honeycrisp will be coming off in big volume,” adds Swindeman.
In terms of varietal volume, it’s a bit mixed. Varieties like Premier Honeycrisp and Rave are up from last year due to there being younger plantings and new bearing surfaces on those plantings. Meanwhile Gala is similar, if not slightly down, from last year. Harvest season continues to look good for apple picking. “The weather conditions at the moment are very favorable temperature-wise and I don’t see any rain or anything of any consequence in the forecast,” says Swindeman.
SweeTango should be done picking this weekend.
As for demand, it’s strong and that’s momentum Applewood Fresh hopes to carry through fall especially. “That way we can get bins emptied to reuse and get much-needed money back into the grower’s pockets,” Swindeman says.
However, pricing looks to be down from last year at this time. “There’s a huge crop in Washington this year. Last year was an off-year for them so that’s affecting the pricing structure at this point,” he says. “Pricing is down and all of our costs are up with the main driver being labor. That’s a big hurt for all of us.”