Two weeks ago I jumped on a plane and headed north to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I along with a group of other bloggers were going apple picking and off to learn about production and shipping with the Michigan Apple Committee.
My first stop was at Sietsema orchards and cider mill in Ada. The owner’s here are all about educating the daily guests on apples. You won’t find a bouncy house or jungle gym at this stop. It’s solely based on apples. They have 150 different varieties on 15 acres.
While here they treated us to a lovely farm to table lunch including veggie sandwiches, Waldorf salad, potato salad, chicken and hard apple cider. They even offer fresh baked goods inside along with a glass or gallon of apple cider. Too bad I was flying because I would have brought some apple cider home with me.
Next stop was at Youngquist farms. It was at this stop where we learned a little more history from the owner Mark about growing apples and keeping them safe from weather and insects. I also got to see some of the workers pick apples and safely place them in the bins to be hauled off for cleaning and shipping. This apple orchard has a no pick up policy so if someone accidentally bumps an apple and it falls, it stays on the ground.
I also got to pick a fresh honey crisp apple on this trip and it was literally the best apple I’ve ever eaten. You just can’t beat a fresh apple straight off the tree.
We loaded back up on the bus to head to the Jack Brown produce plant. They are the leading Michigan apple packer, shipper and exporter. It was very informative to learn the whole production side of how apples end up from orchards to stores. This plant prides itself in great quality control and only choosing the best apples to be sent out for purchase. I was amazed at how many apples get turned away just because of color or a slight marking on them.
The last stop of the day was to the Robinettes’s Apple Haus and Winery. I loaded up on fresh apple cider and a freshly baked cookie before heading back to the airport for a return flight.
Michigan Apple facts:
- Michigan is 3rd largest apple production state in the nation
- There are 9.2 million apple trees in the ground
- 850 family run orchards
- Apples are available year round due to the controlled atmosphere storage
Texas readers can find Michigan apples at their local Costco or HEB stores.
Disclosure: A huge thank you to the Michigan Apple Committee for sending me on this trip. My travel was included.