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Apple growers donate fruit to needy

Contact: Denise Donohue  
(800) 456-2753

(DeWitt, Mich.) –  With one of the state’s largest apple crops on hand, many Michigan Apple growers are giving their excess yield to local food pantries and organizations that serve the underprivileged.

According to figures from the Food Bank Council of Michigan (FBCM), Michigan Apple growers donate 1 million pounds of fresh apples each year.  Michigan Apple Committee (MAC) Executive Director Denise Donohue said considering this year’s record production, there is little doubt that number will be surpassed.

“In fact, many food banks in mid-Michigan are telling us that they are completely saturated with Michigan Apple donations at this time,” said Donohue.  “That’s especially good news in these tough economic times when so many people right here in Michigan are needy.”

Michigan is the third-largest producer of apples in the nation, producing on average about 20 million bushels of apples per year.  According to USDA figures, Michigan is estimated to produce about 27 million bushels of apples this year, almost double the crop size from last year.

“Many of our apple growers are trying hard to get some excess or less-than-perfect apples to the people who really need it,” said Donohue.

According to Toril Fisher, FBCM Director of Programs and Services, there have been 200,000 pounds of Michigan Apples donated since October.   Food bank storage facilities are saturated for the first time and apple donations are now being referred to the national food bank network.

“Fortunately this is happening at the time of the holiday season and we’re able to maximize our holiday meal boxes for the needy,” said Fisher.  “Growers have gone above and beyond to give apples, some even providing us with bags so we could provide bulk apples in family-size portions.”

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded, nonprofit organization devoted to promotion, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption by consumers in Michigan and around the world.