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Michigan fruit grower:

‘Consumer demand for plants during pandemic caused shift in my business’

A Michigan fruit grower says consumer demand for plants during the pandemic has caused a significant shift in his business this year.

Danny Hartmann is the third generation to operate Hartmann Plant Company -with his wife Donna- in Grand Junction, Michigan. He has been growing small fruits and ornamental plants since the late ‘70s, being one of the first growers to use tissue samples cultivating virus-free stock. Their business has grown to supply commercial growers and home gardeners throughout the country and beyond.

Many of Hartmann’s plants are sold to re-wholesalers who will repackage them for garden centers or catalog companies.  Demand this year for his number one crop, blueberries, has been unprecedented.

Hartmann told Brownfield he hopes growing interest in super fruits will create a new wave of demand and diversify growers’ offerings to include high antioxidant fruits like the haskap, lingonberry, elderberry, and others.

“Used to be we sold 60 percent of our plants to the commercial grower, now that’s changed a little bit, it’s probably 40 percent to the commercial grower and 60 percent to the re-wholesalers,” he said.

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