Posts Tagged “Michigan apples”

Apples are being Tied with Health for National Heart Month

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LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Apples can help keep your heart healthy, along with a balanced diet that includes many fruits and vegetables. The Michigan Apple Committee works with expert Shari Steinbach, M.S., R.D. to communicate the health benefits of regular apple consumption.

February is American Heart Month, so now is a great time to tout the importance of consuming a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.

Apples are naturally fat-free and provide an excellent source of fiber – both soluble and insoluble types. In a 2012 study conducted by Ohio State University, the daily consumption of apples was associated with reduced level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol. Their research showed that middle-aged adults who consumed one apple a day for four weeks lowered their levels of LDL cholesterol by 40 percent. Other studies found that eating apples daily appeared to lower levels of cholesterol and two other indicators associated with plaques and inflammation in artery walls. Additional health studies and information can be found at

“Apples are rich in pectin, a soluble fiber, which blocks cholesterol absorption in the gut and encourages the body to use, rather than store this waxy substance. In addition, apple peels are packed with polyphenols. These antioxidants can prevent cellular damage from harmful molecules called free radicals,” said Steinbach. “As far as how much to eat, just follow the apple-a-day saying, and if you eat two-a-day it might be even better!”

In 2018, Steinbach helped the Michigan Apple Committee create a kit as a resource for retail dietitians to help them communicate the many dietary benefits of Michigan Apples. Steinbach tapped in to her extensive experience as a former retail dietitian for Meijer and Spartan Stores to compile resources she knew Retailer RDs would need and use. Everything from recipes, meal plans, social media posts and scripts for media outreach are included in the kit. New sections will be added to the kit in 2020. To request a hard copy or electronic copy, email

The Michigan Apple Committee 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. For more information, visit

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Acquisition by Riveridge Produce Means It will Have 50% of MI Apple Volume

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Sparta, MICH.— Riveridge Produce Marketing, the largest supplier of fresh Michigan apples, has acquired the sales operation of Jack Brown Produce, increasing their volume to 50 percent of Michigan’s fresh apple crop. With the increase in volume and varietal availability, Riveridge will be the one-stop solution for retail partners on quality Michigan apples year-round.

In addition to consistent year-round product availability, the expanded sales organization will be positioned to service retailers with quality fruit, expanded varietals and pack to order solutions. Both organizations are supported with innovative, forward-thinking growers who have adapted to market needs, which have provided for the fruit in high demand today.

“Both Jack Brown Produce and Riveridge Produce have complimentary grower communities making this union a natural fit,” said John Schaefer, president, Jack Brown Produce. “We each have modern packing facilities and growers invested in the future, utilizing the latest growing techniques and moving forward on the varieties and strains that support today’s consumer preferences.”

The Jack Brown Produce packing operation adds to the seven Michigan facilities packing for Riveridge Produce today. The expanded operation will offer additional pack time during the critical fall time-frame, while providing retailers additional flexibility, and a continuity program on Michigan apples.  Sharing data and relationships, the two brands will be an all-encompassing source not just on fruit, but also marketing assets and analysis to help drive buying decisions. 

“With two strong, forward-thinking bases of growers, continued investments in new production and a consumer-driven varietal mix, we look to solidify our role as Michigan’s fruit specialists,” said Don Armock, President, Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc. “This is an opportunity to continue to share knowledge across our grower base and marry producers and customers based on their needs.” 

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About Riveridge Produce Marketing

Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc. is a vertically-integrated apple grower/packer/shipper/marketer headquartered in Sparta, Michigan, a unique growing region in West Michigan due in part  to the elevation, proximity to Lake Michigan and ideal soil conditions. The company represents one-half of Michigan’s fresh apple crop and is leading the way in food safety, new orchard technology and innovation in sales and marketing. In 2017, Riveridge expanded into cider with its own facility, Riveridge Cider Co.,  pressing and bottling fresh apple cider in blends, varietals and seasonal flavors. Additionally, Riveridge markets fresh apples for Sunrise Orchards located in Gays Mills, Wisconsin.

Michigan apples – grossing about $3300 to Dallas.

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Loading Opportunities: CO Potatoes, CA Mandarins, MI Apples, and — Maine Broccoli

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DSCN0028While Colorado potatoes are pretty well known to produce haulers, here are some loading opportunities such as California mandarins, Michigan apples and what — broccoli from Maine!  Yep, that is right.  Check it out.

The San Luis Valley of Colorado has 51,900 acres of potatoes which is up 800 acres from last season.  Russets remain the primary spud shipped from the region, making up approximately 95 percent of the annual shipments.  

Red potatoes now account for around 5 to 7 percent of the volume, while yellows are also increasing making up nearly 10 percent of production.  Fingerlings and specialties account for about 3 percent.  Over all, annual shipments have remained steady in recent years  Last season Colorado had 14 million hundredweight (cwt) of potatoes.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2100 to Chicago.

Sunkist Mandarin Shipments

Sunkist Growers Inc. based in Valencia, CA will start shipping California mandarins on November 1st, and will be shipping  a lot more of the citrus this season.  Mulholland Citrus of Orange Cove, CA recently joined the Sunkist cooperative and will add 8 million 5-pound cartons to Sunkist mandarin shipments this year, doubling the volume of Sunkist from last season.  Sunkist has thousands of grower-members as part of its cooperative, which are  based in California and Arizona.

Michigan Shipper Expands

Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc. of Sparta, MI ships about 35 percent of fresh Michigan apples and how now entered the apple cider business with the opening of the new Riveridge Cider 17,400-square-foot cold storage.  The opening was September 8th starting with blended gallon and one-half gallon cider.  It includes cold pressing and bottled blended fresh apple cider, as well as varietal blends of Fuji, Gala and Honecrisp.  The new operation can bottle 30,000 gallons a day.

Maine Broccoli Shipments

Hapco Farms of Riverhead, NY has been growing and shipping Maine broccoli for over 20 years, producing in excess of one millions boxes every season from July through October.  It has eight different varieties of broccoli, depending upon the time of the year.


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13% More Apples in the U.S. Remain to be Shipped

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DSCN8841U.S. fresh market apples remaining to be shipped are double digit over last season and 97 percent of those apples for hauling are located in three states.

U.S. fresh market apples remaining to be shipped on February 1st were 13 percent higher compared with the 2015-16 shipping season and 9 percent more than the five-year average, according to the February storage report from the U.S. Apple Association.  The leading varieties remaining to be shipped are red delicious and gala.

Total fresh market apples remaining to be shipped were 85.7 million bushels, up from 76 million bushels in 2016, but lower than 95.1 million bushels two years ago.
Washington state reported holdings of 76.4 million bushels, or about 89 percent of the total national fresh holdings.  Michigan apples remaining to be shipped totaled 4.1 million bushels, or about 5 percent of the remaining supplies.  New York’s apple inventories were 2.9 million bushels, or 3 percent of the U.S. total fresh market apples in storage on February 1st.
By variety, the storage report showed that fresh market red delicious holdings were 28.2 million bushels, up from 21.5 million bushels last year but down from 33.8 million bushels two years ago. Gala inventories on hand totaled 16.1 million bushels, up from 12.2 million bushels a year ago and 15.95 million bushels in 2015.
Other fresh market apples remaining in storage 1 were:
  • Pink Lady/cripps pink: 4.4 million bushels, up from 3.7 million bushels last year;
  • Fuji: 9.3 million bushels, up from 8 million bushels a year ago;
  • Golden delicious: 5.3 million bushels, compared with 6 million bushels in 2016;
  • Granny smith: 8.4 million bushels, compared with 10.9 million bushels last year; and
  • Honeycrisp: 3.2 million bushels, compared with 2.9 million bushels a year ago.

Yakima  and Wenatchee Valley, WA apples and pears – grossing about $4500 to Dallas and $6400 to Boston.

Western Michigan apples – grossing about$900 to Chicago and $2700 to Atlanta.


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Look for Quality Problems If You are Loading Apples

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DSCN5105Apple shipments continue to be one of the best bets for produce haulers this time of the year, but with the huge amount of product remaining in storage could present some problems when it comes to claims.

About 3 million boxes of apples are being shipped weekly, mostly from Washington state, but so much fruit remains, there are rumblings of how well some apples are holding up in storage.  One problem cited is with shrinkage, particularly with the Honeycrisp variety, as well as with the smaller sized fruit sold in club stores in larger sized bags.  Additionally, there have been reports of problems with some Fuji apples.  Some are lacking full color, but more importantly is the problem of the fruit showing decay.

It is reported some of the poorest quality apples are being dumped, along with some sizes and grades that marketers are unable to sell.   Still, just use extra caution when picking up a load.

As of February 1st, there were about 95 million bushels of domestic apples for the fresh market remaining to be shipped.  That is a whopping 24 percent more than a year ago.  The total for February also is an astounding 35 percent greater than the five-year average.

Washington state apples account for about 84 million of the 95 million bushels of the fruit still in storage.  Michigan apples accounts for about 3.9 million, while New York apple shippers have 3.8 million and Pennsylvania about 1 million bushels.

There also are concerns among some shippers with the arrival of March when southern hemisphere apples begin arriving, will it hurt sales and shipments.  Imported apples often cost more, but that could become secondary to apple buyers (such as retailers) if the domestic fruit is coming out of storages with quality issues.

Western Michigan apples – grossing about $3500 to Dallas.

Hudson Valley, New York apples – grossing about $2600 to Atlanta.

Yakima Valley, Washington apples – grossing about $4300 to Chicago.




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Michigan Apples Could be Huge This Season, but Provide Less Loads

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134_3463Michigan could have a record, or at least near record apple crop this season, but there may be fewer loads available for produce haulers.  In a nutshell, there’s not enough farm laborers and there are worries of fruit actually rotting on the trees.

Question.  Unemployment is at 7.8 percentange, but some reports state it’s more like 17 percent when including people who have quit looking for work.  So why is there a  labor shortage?  If there is a driver shortage amounting to 20,000 a year, as claimed by the American Trucking Associations, with unemployment so high, what’s the problem?

Could it be that government assistance has become so common and so excessive that folks figure why should they work when there are food stamps, free cell phones, housing assistance, etc.?

 Michigan agricultural organizations teamed up to send “help wanted” postcards to more than 300 farm labor contractors, mostly in Florida and Georgia, informing them of the state’s large apple crop and need for hundreds of qualified workers for the next few weeks.

About 20 to 30 percent of the state’s apples remain to be harvested.  If the fruit isn’t picked by early November there’s a good chance it will be lost.

Apple pickers are paid $15 to $20 and hour, plus are provided with housing during the season.  The crop is estimated to be about 30 million bushels this season.

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