Apple farming in Mexico is regionally important, especially in areas where few other commercial crops grow.
The main reason is that apples grow well in the high, cold and very rugged areas of Mexico, as they need the cold that would kill many other fruits.
Apple cultivation started only 20 years after the conquest, but it was prohibited to the indigenous, most likely because its primary purpose was to make hard cider. This kept the fruit from becoming a widespread part of the colonial diet, but missionaries later did bring the tree north as they introduced agriculture to nomadic peoples.
Today, apple trees can be found everywhere that they can grow in Mexico, but they account for only 3% of Mexico’s commercial fruit production. Most are grown in small orchards or in backyards, so they have not reached their full potential as a commercial crop according to mexiconewsdaily.com
Most of Mexico’s 15 federally defined apple-growing regions are in the Sierra Madre Occidental, stretching from Chihuahua to parts of Oaxaca and Chiapas. The top producers are Chihuahua, Puebla, Durango and Coahuila, but Chihuahua is far in the lead, producing anywhere from 70% to over 90% of Mexico’s apples (depending on which source you believe).
Chihuahua also leads in the production of table-ready fruit, which commands a higher price. This is due in part to low precipitation, which mars the apples’ skins, but also due to a history that includes American and Canadian immigrants such as the Mennonites, who were used to growing apples in their colder homelands and developed markets and introduced new technologies.
Most of Chihuahua’s apples are grown in and around the municipality of Cuauhtémoc. This area not only has over 2,500 growers, but also many greenhouses, packing plants and apple processing plants.
Mexico meets 77% of the domestic demand for apples, most of which is consumed fresh. The average Mexican consumes only just over eight kilos per year, compared to Poland (67.5 kilos), Turkey (35.4 kilos), Iran (34.7 kilos) and China (31.4 kilos).