The 2022-23 Michigan apple crop is shattering shipping records.
Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc., Sparta, MI, reports it has surpassed its all-time production record by 20-25%. The grower/shipper packs more than half of Michigan’s fresh apple crop and has a presence in all but one of Michigan’s apple producing areas.
In August the Michigan Apple Committee announced a crop estimate of a whopping 29.5 million bushels. This is 10 million more bushels than in the 2021-22 season. Michigan apple growers produced 15.6 million bushels last year, according to the USDA. Informal estimates now place 2022-23 volume at about 34-38 million bushels!
Riveridge reports this banner season is especially good news because it follows three consecutive disappointing Michigan apple crops. Part of the reason the 2022-23 crop was so good is that the trees had not been stressed by large crops for a long time. It was a strong bloom and fruit set. This year, Michigan apple trees were tight on maturity, with the fruitlets on the trees ranging in maturity within three to five days. Some years that span can vary by two weeks.
Riveridge’s apple marketing position is stronger because of a short crop in the Pacific Northwest. The company plans on filling those voids.
A strategic move for Riveridge is growing apple varieties and strains wanted by consumers. Galas and Fujis are key varieties for Riveridge. A lot of the apple industry that has focused on expensive, proprietary varieties, which the company believes has confused many consumers.