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My First Time in the Orchard

I am originally from Houston, Texas, and a beautiful fall season is something I had never seen or experienced until I came to MSU. And after visiting an orchard for the first time, I would have to say that this will be my first fall to really experience apple season.

When I arrived at Hart Farms in Lowell, Michigan, I was greeted Chris Kropf, and he took me out to the orchard. It exceeded all of my expectations.

I have been to mini-orchards, as in the experimental six trees, three in two rows but this was a completely different setting. I was expecting a few rows of apples for each variety, but the rows of trees were endless and every tree had huge, juicy apples hanging off of them. I have never seen so many apples in my life!

Everything was lush and made me temporarily forget the winter weather that is fast approaching. Workers were picking apples an astounding speed, but carefully placing them in their picking buckets so the apples would not bruise. Then they would carry the apples down their ladders and unload in large wooden crates. By the time we left they had filled almost 17 crates of apples!

While walking around the orchard, Chris’s wife, Kim, and their two kids Kenny and Emily came out to join us. Everyone was extremely welcoming and happy to answer any of my questions about spending time on an apple orchard. Although it was cold and rainy, I had a great time meeting the family.

I never realized how much science and planning goes into just one apple. A different apple may be picked each day depending on its maturity. The journey an apple takes before it lands in your hands is a pretty long one.

It was an incredible experience for me to meet the grower, and understand what the fall season means for him and his family and the impact apples have on the state of Michigan. A little apple goes a long way.