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GREAT LAKES, GREAT FLAVORS

Michigan Apple Committee Official Blog

Introducing the 2013 Michigan Apple Queen & Court

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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!

Michigan Apple Queen and Court – Summer Parades

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Marissa Tidey – 2012 Michigan Apple Queen
Parades and festivals are in full swing as we look to the end of summer.  I kicked off the summer the right way by attending the Memorial Day parade in my hometown of Dowagiac, Michigan.  As usual it was hot, humid and a perfect welcome for summer.

I absolutely love parades and the Bavarian Festival in Frankenmuth was no exception.  Before each of the parades get rolling, Emily and I like to walk the route and hand out our Michigan Apple goods to children.  We love interacting with the kids and having the opportunity to pass our knowledge of Michigan apples on to them.  We also have the opportunity to chat with the residents of the community and witness the pride they have for their parades.  Many spectators of the Bavarian parade had beautifully made costumes and we enjoyed spotting them throughout the route. read more »

Tulip Time Festival – Holland

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Marissa Tidey – 2012 Michigan Apple Queen

Parade season has started! Saturday May 12, Emily and I kicked off the summer in not so summery weather with the Tulip Time Festival parade in Holland.  Despite the lack of sun, we still had a great time visiting with one of the Grand Marshalls of the parade Dr. James Bultman as well as the popular Dutch Dancers. We also had the opportunity to chat with other Queens such as The Bavarian Queen, Miss South Haven, Miss Blossomtime and Miss Wheelchair Michigan.

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Great American Pie Festival – Marissa Tidey

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As my sophomore year at Grand Valley State University wound down my Apple Queen duties were just getting started.  I rushed through moving into a new apartment, filling out job applications and taking finals while at the same time packing to attend the Great American Pie Festival in Orlando, Florida.  Upon arrival I was told the details of my agenda which included judging the commercial baker division (apple of course) and making an appearance at the festival in the community of Celebration, Florida.  I was also informed that I may have the chance to meet Willard Scott from the Today show.  Nerves have never hit me like a brick wall as fast as when I heard this.

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Introducing the 2012 Michigan Apple Queen & Court

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Marissa Tidey, 2012 Michigan Apple Queen

Hello, my name is Marissa Tidey and I am honored to be representing the industry as the 2012 Michigan Apple Queen.  I am from Dowagiac Michigan and I am a sophomore at Grand Valley State University.  My grandfather, James Scherer, the owner and operator of James Scherer Fruit Farms has been a part of the industry for 32 years as a grower, packer, and shipper.  Ever since I was little apples have been a part of my life and continue to be.

As a little girl I loved to dress up and go to queen contests, but had never experienced the apple queen contest.  One day my mom mentioned it and I figured I’d give it a shot, never thinking I’d end up being crowned.  We spent all day working on our introductions, slow walks, and “queen feet” at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel on December 6.  I didn’t know anyone at first, but decided to take it as a learning experience and have fun.  All of the other contestants were around the same age, so it was very easy to talk and get to know one another.  The next thing we knew it was time for interviews with the judges and I knew this was really it; it was time, and my nerves had kicked in.  To my surprise, the judges were not as intimidating as I thought; they’re normal people who are just trying to get to know you and your personality.  The contest was the best part of the whole day yet seemed like it only lasted five minutes.  It was such a whirlwind, and the next thing I knew I was being crowned the new Apple Queen.  I soon realized what my year was going to be like as my duties started the very next morning, with meets and greets on the expo floor.

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Grand Rapids Santa Claus Parade – Hillary Heeren

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On Saturday November nineteenth I was invited to be a part of the Grand Rapids Santa Claus Parade. For a mid-November day I was surprised to have very pleasant weather. While walking around before the parade I met many Michigan Apple Fans including Grand Rapids Mayor Heartwell.  I had the honor of presenting Mayor Heartwell with a Michigan Apple pin. I appreciated the effort Mayor Heartwell placed into wearing the Michigan Apple pin.

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Spooky Retail Visits for Halloween – Alyson Wendzel

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Hope everyone had a great Halloween! My weekend was very enjoyable considering I was able to go to Troy, Michigan and work with Chef Paul at a Michigan apple chef demo. The rainy weather brought in a great crowd to both Nino Salvaggio grocery stores, and Chef Paul and I were steadily busy all day.

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Fall Preschool and Meijer Visits – Hillary Heeren

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On Friday October twenty-first I was invited to read to Mrs. Youngquist’s morning and afternoon preschool classes in the Rockford School District. I read Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss. During this story the children all pretended to balance apples on their heads just like the characters in the book. I also read the story of Johnny Appleseed by Jodie Shepherd. The children thought it was very funny that a boy would wear a pan on his head. The afternoon class listened to Amelia Bedelia’s First Apple Pie by Herman Parish. The children talked to me about what Michigan Apples they thought are best for apple pie.

The children asked me questions about what it’s like to be a princess as well as what my royal responsibilities are. I told them about being in parades, going to grocery stores, as well as farm markets, but most importantly sharing my passion of Michigan Apples! They were very interested in hearing about the different varieties of Michigan Apples. We discussed colors as well as patterns seen on apples.

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Lewis Farm Market & Petting Zoo – Hillary Heeren

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On Saturday October fifteenth I traveled to New Era and visited the Lewis Farm Market and Petting Zoo. Upon arriving I saw many people about the property. I first went inside the retail market where the smell of fresh Michigan Apple cider and warm homemade doughnuts was in the air. I was able to sample some of the Michigan Apple baked goods which were all scrumptious! I met many people who were very interested in Michigan Apples and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to share my Michigan Apple knowledge with them.

My next stop was out to the petting zoo where many people were very excited to see animals such as a camel, alpaca, a zebra, and the Lewis farm market’s mascot, a donkey. I had many children ask if I was a real princess. I told them “Yes! I rule over all the Michigan Apples!”

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Detroit’s Eastern Market – Alyson Wendzel

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On October 8th I had the chance to go to Detroit and visit the Eastern Farm Market. Lucky enough for me and all of the visitors, it was a beautiful, sunny day; perfect weather for an occasion such as this.

When we arrived, I was expecting a normal size farm market with the usual food and flower vendors. I was in for a surprise when I realized Eastern Market was much more than that! People were selling everything from fruit, vegetables, plants, jewelry, and even dog treats! And of course the Michigan Apple booth was there too. One of my personal favorites was the people selling all different kinds of pies. He told me that apple pie was almost always his biggest seller and also gave me a few of his secrets that I will definitely put to good use.

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