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Introducing the 2012 Michigan Apple Queen & Court

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.

Going to the expo with my first runner up, Emily Heeren was a great way to kick off the year. It was an incredible way to meet local farmers and visit with those I already knew. My favorite part of the day was tasting all of the fantastic things Michigan has to offer. We also attended a luncheon and formal dinner where we got to listen to dynamic presentations about the economy of our state. I would like to thank the Michigan Apple Committee and their sponsors for providing this opportunity to the young women of our industry. This is a great chance for us to learn even more about our state while educating others as well. I’m excited and look forward to what the new year brings!

Emily Heeren, 2012 First Runner-up

Hello, my name is Emily Heeren and I am honored to have been crowned the Michigan Apple Court for 2012.

I was blessed in my younger years to have grown up on “The Ridge” in a house surrounded by apple orchards. I have a strong family tradition with apples on both sides of my family. My great-grandfather along with his brother, on my father’s side of the family started Heeren Brother’s Produce in 1933, and the business is now run by my father, and other relatives. The business deals with the packing and shipping of Michigan Apples. My mother’s side of the family has a deep tradition of growing Michigan Apples that runs back as far as anyone now alive can remember. I am proud to have my own contribution to add to this strong heritage by acting as the 2012 Michigan Apple Court.

Taking part in the Michigan Apple Queen pageant is something that all of my older cousins on my father’s side, as well as my sister have participated in. I remember watching some of my older cousins run and I was proud when one of my cousins was crowned. It was exciting to be able to share a dance on top of the whitecaps dugout one day that summer. This past year my sister served as the Michigan Apple Court and I was able to share many experiences with her, as a self deemed “Michigan Apple Court paparazzi” taking pictures all year long. I look forward to this coming year creating my own experiences as the Michigan Apple Court.

I already carry with me the experiences of the pageant and the pizza party with the other contestants. Emily, Jennifer, Marissa, and Elizabeth are all very nice and I am glad I had the opportunity to meet them all. Marissa will be a great queen; I can tell by all of the fun we had together at the Great Lakes Fruit and Vegetable Expo.

I cannot wait to get out on the parade routes, reading to schools, visiting farmers markets, and visiting all the other venues to promote Michigan Apples! I look forward to all the events Marissa and I will be a part of. Thank you to all the growers, packers and shippers, sponsors and the Michigan Apple Committee for this great opportunity.