posted on February 28, 2006
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Denise Yockey
Michigan apples have begun rolling south of the border again, with the year's first shipment headed out in late February. The state is trying a new variety in Mexico: the Rome Beauty, with the first truckload shipped by Michigan Fresh Marketing of Belding.
Mexican people are big apple-eaters, and most prefer a sweet apple. Michigan apples are very similar in size and appearance to Mexican apples grown in the mountains of the Chihuahua region.
Exporting Michigan apples to Mexico helps improve profitability of the state's apple industry by strengthening prices through market expansion. Approximately 3 to 5 percent of the state's fresh apples are exported, with two-thirds of them going to Latin America.
Years of effort by Michigan apple growers, shippers and agriculture officials were required to develop and implement a phytosanitary procedure, in order to convince Mexican agriculture officials that no insects or diseases would be exported along with the fruit. For the last four years, Michigan has used federal grant funds to bring a Mexican fruit inspector to the packing houses and controlled atmosphere storage rooms in West Michigan. The inspector must be in Michigan as the storage rooms are sealed in the fall, and again in winter when they are opened after a 90-day required chilling period. He works alongside inspectors from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and US Department of Agriculture. Seven apple shippers are qualified to export to Mexico.
The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit association devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit MichiganApples.com.