This post is sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee. All opinions are our own.
Apple season is officially here! We sat down with Diane Smith, Executive Director for the Michigan Apple Committee to learn more about what the committee does, how to pick the perfect apple, fun recipes ideas and much, much more!
What is the Michigan Apple Committee’s role in the produce industry?
The Michigan Apple Committee engages in marketing, research, education and communications for the benefit of Michigan’s apple growers. We educate consumers and retailers about the Michigan Apple industry on behalf of our state’s 825 apple growers.
Where can we learn more about the farmers and orchards you work with?
Our website has a listing of farm markets and cider mills you can visit during the fall season. Just click here and enter your location, or search by the farm market’s name. You can also “meet” a few Michigan Apple growers on our website. Some growers are the fifth or even sixth generation to work their farm!
What varieties of apples are grown in Michigan? What variety is most popular?
There are many varieties of apples grown in Michigan. About 16 of them are available commercially. Some farm markets and orchards may sell lesser-known varieties, or antique varieties as well. Our variety section on our website can help you select varieties to try depending on what type of flavor you like. The most popular variety in Michigan is the Honeycrisp. We have conducted consumer panels with an independent researcher since 2008, and Michigan Honeycrisp always comes out on top, even when compared to Honeycrisp from other states. Michigan-grown Fuji and Jonagold also consistently top the flavor list.
When are Michigan Apples in season?
Harvest of early varieties begins in August, and growers are usually wrapping up apple harvest around Halloween. But with an average of 23 million bushels (966 million pounds!) of Michigan Apples harvested each year, it’s a good thing we have controlled atmosphere storage. Controlled atmosphere storage is a non-chemical process that slows down the ripening process in order to keep Michigan Apples crisp and fresh. Oxygen levels, which are at 21% in the air we breathe, are reduced to 1% to 2% in the controlled atmosphere (C.A.) storage rooms. When the apples are ready to go to the store, they are removed from C.A. storage and begin the ripening process again. This way, Michigan Apples can be available to consumers nearly year-round!
When buying apples at the store, what should shoppers look for to pick the best ones?
First, look for Michigan Apples. Then, decide on the variety you want to select based on your plans for usage. Are you baking a pie? Eating fresh in-hand? Certain varieties may hold their shape better in cooking. Or, a sweet apple may complement a savory dish better than a tart one. We have a handy usage chart on our website that can help you make your choice.
What’s the best way to store apples once you get them home?
Apples bruise easily, so handle with care! Apples that are refrigerated can last longer than apples left out. So place your apples in the fridge and enjoy the crisp, fresh flavor even longer!
An apple a day keeps the doctor away – what are the health benefits of eating apples as part of a healthy lifestyle?
There are so many benefits! In my opinion, apples are the original superfood. Loaded with fiber, Vitamin C and antioxidants, apples just might be the most cost-effective health food there is! The health benefits of apples have been studied for a long time. Our friends at the U.S. Apple Association fund and compile health research about apples. We’ve posted more detailed information on our website here.
Do you have any tips on how families can get creative in the kitchen with apples?
The great thing about apples is that they enhance just about any dish, whether sweet or savory! I like to slice them up and add them to salads, or dip them in a yogurt fruit dip. We have hundreds of recipes and quick tips for incorporating apples into any meal on our website. If you and your family come up with a new, fun idea for cooking or snacking with Michigan Apples, let us know! You can share with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Be sure to tag #MIapples. We also have a Pinterest page for all things apple and lots of videos on our YouTube channel. We’d love to hear from you!