Courtney Heeren, 2013 Michigan Apple Queen
Hello, my name is Courtney Heeren and I am truly honored to be representing the industry as the 2013 Michigan Apple Queen. I am from Grand Rapids, Michigan and I am a junior at Central Michigan University pursuing a degree in Special Education with a focus on Emotional Impairments. I am a fourth generation apple packer and shipper. My great-grandfather, along with his brother, opened Heeren Brother’s Produce in 1933. However, now it is operated and owned by my father, Dan Heeren, along with his brothers and cousins. The apple industry has always been an essential part of my life. By being the Michigan Apple Queen, it will allow me to give back to an industry that has given me so much.
I had never thought of myself as a pageant girl or even someone who could compete against other girls for this type of role. However, I heard about my father’s cousins kids competing various years throughout my childhood. I had talked about it with my family and decided it would be a tremendous opportunity. I spent days preparing the perfect essay, hours making sure my hair was perfect and the morning completing an interview. I was extremely nervous, but when I got into my interview, I realized that being myself was not something to be nervous about. I was crowned soon after at the luncheon held at the Great Lakes Expo.
I was able to attend the Expo soon after with the first runner up, Kate Sage. We had a blast taking pictures, talking to farmers and various people in the produce industry. My favorite part was tasting all the delicious treats that Michigan has to offer. It was an incredible day filled with fantastic conversations from many wonderful people in the industry. Kate and I were also invited to attend a formal dinner. We were able to watch many deserving individuals receive scholarships and listen to an inspirational speaker. The entire day created an atmosphere of perseverance as this year of struggle comes to a close and we move toward the future.
I cannot wait to fulfill the many duties that are ahead of me. I look forward to attending parades, visiting farmers markets and grocery stores, reading to school children to educate them about apples and the other events that are in store. I am extremely excited to be sharing this opportunity with Kate Sage. I would like to thank the many people who have made this experience and opportunity possible especially the Michigan Apple Committee. I look forward to represent the Michigan Apple Industry for 2013!
Kate Sage, 2013 First Runner-up
Hello, my name is Kate Sage and I am honored to be able to call myself your 2013 Michigan Apple Queen Court. I am from Morrice Michigan, but am currently living in Eau Claire where I am attending my second year at Southwestern Michigan College and working on Tree-Mendus Fruit farm and u-pick owned by my grandfather Herb Teichman. I love working at TMF because I get to be apart of production as well as work with customers who visit our farm.
I am excited for this coming year and being able to promote such a wonderful industry. This is a great opportunity to visit all aspects of the apple industry and broaden my knowledge base of apples and their journey from the tree to the consumer. At the same time I will be able to educate others and create more awareness and understanding of the industry as a whole. This past year’s crop loss has been a hard one for the apple industry, however 2013 is just around the corner and I am looking forward to a great comeback!