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Michigan Apples off to strongest start in years!

Contact: Denise Donohue
(800) 456-2753
(517) 282-5742  (cell)

Michigan Apple shippers are likely moving record amounts of apples out the door this fall.  For the first seven weeks of the 2011 apple harvest, Michigan shippers sold a collective 443,091 cartons of apples, according to figures received today from the USDA’s Market News Service.  The next closest volume year-to-date was in 2006, when over 396,000 cartons were shipped.

“Michigan apples are of outstanding quality this year,” said Denise Donohue, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee.  The pack-out rates – the percentage of superior market apples vs. sort-outs – are very, very high this year, she added.

“The significant investments in new technology made by our packers, shippers and growers in recent years are now paying dividends in the form of a better-quality finished product.  Retailers are recognizing these improvements, and rewarding the state’s growers by purchasing more Michigan Apples,” Donohue said.

Major expansions to packing and grading lines and adoption of technology, have increased Michigan’s ability to ship larger quantities of apples in early fall.  Shipments this fall are 11 percent above 2006, and higher than all other growing regions in the US, with the exception of Washington State.  Michigan growers expect to harvest 26.1 million bushels of apples this fall.

Shipment figures are expected to ramp up significantly in the next few weeks, as only about six of Michigan’s 20 commercial apple varieties have been picked.  Current available varieties include:  Ginger Gold, McIntosh, Gala, Jonamac, Honeycrisp and Jonathan.

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.  For more information including current retailer rebate opportunities and contests, visit MichiganApples.com.