Apples in Michigan are up from last year but not as much as expected.
“We certainly have a bigger crop here than last year. But I don’t think, at least on the earlier varieties so far, that we’re picking as many as we had estimated,” says Scott Swindeman of Deerfield, Mi.-based All Fresh GPS LLC. “But again, it’s still much better volume than a year ago.”
So far, the varieties picked include SweeTango, Royal Galas, McIntosh, Jonagold and Honeycrisp and shortly, All Fresh will begin harvesting Golden Delicious and Red Delicious. It’s also starting to harvest early Fujis. Later varieties include Kanzi, Kiku, Fuji and Evercrisp.
“The Honeycrisp at this point in time are where we thought they would be,” says Swindeman. “But the Royal Galas are a mixed bag. While we’re certainly up from last year, it’s also not as large as we’d anticipated for this year.”
The Michigan weather has also taken its toll on harvesting apples. “Harvest has been all over the board. Some areas are starting earlier than normal,” says Swindeman. “We’ve had more heat this year than normal and that threw us off a bit on some varieties with harvest. Then we had areas that received all kinds of rain two to three weeks prior to harvest starting and that affected maturity levels.”
And while demand is solid and as expected, pricing is not.
“I’m disappointed with pricing for where it appears the national crop is going to come in here. I don’t feel pricing reflects that. It’s disappointing,” says Swindeman, adding that pricing is down from last year and in some cases, significantly so.
“In the short term, I don’t see anything changing. I think it will be business as usual,” says Swindeman. “But I feel confident that once everything is picked and counted, there’ll be opportunities for us to get our pricing levels up to where they should be.”