Posts Tagged “Michigan apple shipments”
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.
Michigan’s official crop estimate of 29.5 million bushels (1.239 billion pounds) was recently announced and the 2022 shipping estimate is well above average.
The Michigan Apple Committee reports ideal weather conditions in spring and summer and stored energy from 2021’s smaller crop has resulted in a large, high-quality apple.
Average annual shipments are approximately 24 million bushels. According to the USDA, Michigan harvested 15.6 million bushels of apples in 2021. There are more than 14.9 million apple trees in commercial production, covering 34,500 acres on 775 family-run farms in Michigan.
Many factors contribute to the size of an apple crop, including weather and the size of the previous year’s crop. To make the estimate, growers and other industry experts report on what they are seeing in various regions of the state, then come to a consensus on the crop size estimate.
Michigan apples are available nearly year-round and shipments in a good year are destined for 32 states and 18 countries worldwide.
The Michigan Apple Committee of Lansing, MI is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world.
Applewood Fresh® of Sparta, MI, a premier fourth-generation grower, packer/shipper of Michigan-grown apples is counting down the days to the start of their flavorful harvest, with Rave® in August.
Rave® is only available for a limited time each year. “Look for Michigan Rave® harvest and shipping around August 19th, with fruit available through October” said Scott Swindeman, President, Managing Owner of Applewood Fresh. “With the new acreage coming into production and good growing conditions, the 2022 crop looks to give us a very good increase in volume of over 50% from last season, which gives our customers opportunity for promotions” said Brian Coates, VP of Sales, and Business Development.
Applewood Fresh offers bulk packaging in Standard and Euro Tray pack Cartons, as well as some packaged options; 2 lb. pouch and tote bags which fit the current trend of increased packaged sales in the apple category. “Retailers should promote packaged fruit and merchandise in lead-off positions in their produce departments to drive sales. Customers are looking for quick grab and go solutions as they navigate the store to expedite their shopping trip,” said Brian.
Outrageously juicy with a refreshing snappy zing, Rave® apples are part Honeycrisp and part MonArk. They have that infamous Honeycrisp bite but harvest a few weeks earlier than other apple varieties. MN55 cultivar apples were bred naturally through traditional cross-pollination methods by David Bedford at the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program. The company has grown the juicy, early season Apple for the past five years. Availability is expected to grow exponentially in 2023 and beyond.
By Applewood Fresh Growers
Applewood Fresh®, a fourth-generation grower, packer/shipper and marketer of Michigan-grown apples, has started shipping the Rave® and SweeTango® varieties.
Rave® apples are part Honeycrisp and part MonArk. They have that infamous Honeycrisp bite, but harvest a few weeks earlier than other apple varieties. MN55 cultivar apples were bred naturally through traditional cross-pollination methods by David Bedford at the University of Minnesota’s apple breeding program.
The company has grown the juicy, early season Honeycrisp-meets-MonArk cross for the past four years. Availability is expected to grow exponentially in 2021 and beyond. Rave® is only available for a limited time each year. Look for Rave® shipments from Mid-August through October, said Scott Swindeman, Managing Owner of Applewood Fresh.
Applewood Fresh expects a similar production to last year for SweeTango®. As the lead marketer in the Midwest for the variety that, also, comes from the University of Minnesota breeding program, Applewood Fresh promotes the marriage of the Honeycrisp and Zestar! varieties in SweeTango for its standout flavor and texture. SweeTango started shipping from Michigan in early September.
Applewood Fresh offers bulk packaging in Standard and Euro Tray pack Cartons, as well as several packaged options; 2 and 3 lb. pouch, 3 lb. poly bags and tote bags to fit the new trend of increased packaged apple sales. “Retailers should promote packaged fruit and merchandise in lead-off positions in their produce departments to drive sales. Customers are looking for quick grab and go solutions as they navigate the store to expedite their shopping trip,” said Brian Coates, VP of Sales and Business Development.
A new variety that was developed in the Midwest and grown in Michigan is now being shipped.
The EverCrisp is a late-season apple and a cross between Honeycrisp and Fuji which stores well and is long-lasting, with the ability to last for weeks without refrigeration.
The Michigan Apple Committee of Lansing reports it is a rosy-colored, crisp apple that is a fairly new variety grown across the Midwest, including Michigan.
The committee notes many Michigan growers have invested in EverCrisp tree plantings that have now come into bearing. The variety can be found at many retailers and grocery chains across Michigan and throughout the United States. It is most widely available after the New Year when it comes out of storage.
The EverCrisp was originally developed in 1998 as part of the Midwest Apple Improvement Association (MAIA), an apple breeding project in which growers of all sizes were invited to participate in developing new varieties.
MAIA was co-founded by Mitch Lynd of Lynd Fruit Farms in Pataksala, Ohio, who hoped to develop flavorful apple varieties despite the region’s unpredictable winter and spring weather patterns.
The Evercrisp or MAIA-1 variety, as it’s also called, came from a cross made in spring 1998 when Lynd collected apple blossoms from a Fuji tree, removed the pollen, and used it to pollinate Honeycrisp tree flower.
Michigan apple shipments are pegged at 21.9 million boxes this season, which is down less than 3 percent from a year ago.
North Bay Produce Inc. of Traverse City, MI is shipping its main varieties such as gala, Honeycrisp, mcintosh and golden delicious.
Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC of Comstock Park, MI grows a number of variety and kicked off the season several weeks ago with it early variety apples, ginger gold and paula red.
The company also has an early Honeycrisp, called a Premier, that started August 22nd; SweeTango, and Wildfire, stared a few days later.
Gala kicked off the company’s traditional varieties on September 7, with mcintosh, Smitten; Honeycrisp, empire, jonathan and jonagold, and golden delicious over the next three weeks.
Red delicious, fuji, idared, braeburn and topaz get underway this month, while and Evercrisp and Pink Lady, start in November.
Observers of Michigan apples report the crop is looking good for 2020, but we haven’t heard any specifics as to how it compares to an average of 25 million bushels shipped in a normal season. That old crop will wrap up in July before the new season kicks off with early varieties in late August.
We should have a better idea when an official crop size estimate is released at USApple’s Outlook conference, Aug. 20-21, which will be online this year.
Many growers have signed on with managed varieties in Michigan, such as Smitten, Sweet Tango, Kiku, and more. In addition, EverCrisp has become exceedingly popular in the winter months, as it stores well.
There also are more traditional varieties such as Honeycrisp, Gala and Fuji . There is less volume due to lower demand for such varieties as
Jonathan and Romes, among others.
The Michigan Apple Commitee reports it is aiming toward expansion beyond the Great Lakes region. Michigan Apples are shipped to 32 states and exported to 18 countries.
Two Michigan apple markets have combined sales staffs and represent about 150 growers, which will result in around 3 million bushels of Michigan apple shipments due to the union.
Joining forces are Belleharvest Sales Inc. and Michigan Fresh Marketing.
The merger creates a sales alliance, resulting in the second-largest apple shipping operation in Michigan, according to a news release. In 2018, 10 million to 11 million of the state’s 24 million bushels were sold on the fresh market.
The apples will be packed at 7 facilities owned by Belleharvest of Belding, MI., and Michigan Fresh Marketing of Grand Rapids.
“This move is being made to take full advantage of both companies’ strengths and abilities,” Milt Fuehrer, Belleharvest CEO, said. “By merging the offices into one company there will be a robust sales department along with a wider distribution footprint.”
Michigan Fresh CEO Joe D’Ottavio said the partnership allows for innovation.
“The growth potential these two organizations bring to the market is exponential,” D’Ottavio said. “We have an experienced sales team, diverse varieties, and the ability to pack orders quickly and efficiently.”
The Belleharvest/Michigan Fresh partnership follows other changes in the Michigan apple industry. In January, Applewood Fresh Growers LLC of Sparta, formed to market apples from more than 11,000 acres in Michigan and other states.
Also in January, Riveridge Produce Marketing, a Sparta apple grower-shipper-marketer, acquired Sparta apple company Jack Brown Produce’s sales operation.
While Washington state continues to easily lead the nation in apple shipments, both Michigan and New York have been running neck and neck in recent years for second place.
During the 2018-19 season Michigan shipped apples to retailers in 32 states, up from about 28 states the previous season.
The Michigan Apple Committee in Lansing relates there has been a good increase into markets in the Northeast and the organization is hoping to expand its presence into the Southern U.S.
While the bloom on trees is a little late this year due to a cool and wet spring, warmer temperatures recently have spurred bee activity during pollination. This has observers optimistic about a full crop.
Last year, the Michigan apple shipments totaled about 24 million bushels, down from early season projections of 27 million bushels or more.
Michigan fresh apple loadings typically range from 10 million to 14 million bushels, with the balance of the crop going to processors. The 2018 crop was about 10 million to 11 million cartons fresh.
While an overall larger crop is seen, one exception could be the Honeycrisp variety, where growers are seeing a somewhat lighter crop compared with a year ago.
While early varieties will begin harvest in August, gala harvest is expected to get underway around Labor Day.
Just about everyone is in agreement there will be fewer U.S. apple shipments this season, which extends into the late summer of 2019. How many fewer, depends upon whom you ask.
The U.S. Apple Association is predicting 256.16 million, 42-pound cartons will be shipped. This is 6 percent below the USDA’s forecast, as well a 6 percent less than a year ago.
Western Apple Shipments
More specifically, the U.S. Apple Association is predicting this season’s Washington apple shipments will be at 155 million cartons, which is 10 percent below the USDA’s forecast of 171.4 million cartons. The U.S. Apple estimate for Washington is off 13 percent from 2017 shipments and 5 percent below the five-year average.
Washington growers reported that
The early harvested apple crop has fallen short of the expectations of Washington growers due to uneven bloom timing, which resulted in uneven maturity rates in orchards.
In total, Western U.S. apple shipments are estimated at 166.2 million cartons, off 9 percent from the USDA’s estimate and 12 percent below a year ago.
Midwest and Eastern Apple Shipments
The U.S. Apple Association and USDA figures pretty well match for Michigan and New York. The U.S. Apple estimates for New York is 31 million cartons, unchanged from the USDA estimate of 30.9 million cartons and the same as last year’s output.
Michigan apple shipments estimated U.S. Apple stand at 28 million cartons, unchanged from the USDA’s 27.96 million carton estimate. Michigan’s forecasted crop is 40 percent above a year ago and 8 percent higher than the five-year average.
Michigan accounts for about 90 percent of Midwest apple shipments.
BelleHarvest Fruit Sales Inc. of Belding, MI reports while this season’s forecast shows a nice rebound in volume, it falls short of the record 2016 apple shipments of 30.4 million cartons.
Fifty percent of the Michigan apple crop will consist of Fuji, Honeycrisp and gala, a number expected to increase in coming years.
The U.S. Apple estimate for the Midwest stands at 31.6 million cartons, virtually unchanged from the USDA estimate of 31.4 million cartons and up 35 percent from a year ago.
Eastern Apple Shipments
Crist Brothers Apple Orchards of Walden, NY points out various apple shipping regions in the East have similar volume to last year, which includes New England’s Vermont, which had some dry weather.
Virginia apple shipments have experienced excessive rains since last May and June, but is still expecting normal shipments.
Pennsylvania apple shipments are expected to total 12-million bushels, down 5 percent from last year.
New York apple shipments from Hudson Valley should be similar to the five-year average.
Western New York shipments are predicted to be about the same as a year ago.
The U.S. Apple estimate predicts Eastern U.S. apple shipments to total 58.4 million cartons, nearly unchanged from the USDA’s estimate of 58.7 million cartons and down only 1 percent from a year ago.