Michigan fruit producers grateful for good apple crop

With a cooler, moist growing season, this year's crop in northern lower Michigan is predicted to be a good one. John King, who owns and operates King Orchards with his brother Jim, in Central Lake and Kewadin, said earlier this week that all of the family's 62 ha of apples are expected to produce well this year.

"All of our apples are good-sized this year, and with the rain we're getting now we'll get some good color on them," said King, who grows a wide variety of table and cooking apples. Right now, we've got Zestar and Sanzas in the market, and this week we'll be bringing in the Paula Reds and Ginger Golds," the fruit producer noted.

Most of the apple varieties on the farm are ripening on time, although some are a bit delayed with the late start to the pollination season last spring, he added. "But, our Honeycrisp fans will be happy to know that we already have a few available," King said. "The Honeycrisps should really get going next week."

Besides the prime varieties of table apples like Honeycrisp and Gala, King Orchards is now also growing tarter cider apples to accommodate the current interest in hard ciders and meads across the country, as well as locally.

"We have a lot of different varieties every year," he told antrimreview.net. "They come and go as other varieties become more popular that are easier to grow and pack."

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