Michigan Apples Ripe For Picking; Growers Expect Bumper Crop

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When the leaves start to change color that means one thing for apple growers, their busy season is here.

"Right now the trees are looking good," said Co-Owner of Country Mill Farm Steve Tennes. "They're healthy, we've had a lot of rain. Now we're just ready for the cool temperatures."

Cool weather that help give the fruit their color and crisp flavor.

The Michigan Apple Committee expects another strong harvest, just shy of last years record-breaking haul of 30 million bushels.

"This year there were fewer apple blossoms on the trees but there's still plenty of apples for people to pick, since there's fewer they're a little bigger" said Tennes, who's Charlotte farm will open for apple picking Saturday.

Good news for growers, since two years ago an early blossom followed by freezing temperatures destroyed 90 percent of the state's apple crop. Thanks to consistently freezing temps this past winter, the crop is stronger than ever.

"The healthy trees that went into the winter were allowed to stay dormant longer, until middle of April when they woke up and that allowed them to escape and spring freezes," Tennes explained.

Weather that's benefiting growers across the state, meaning there's plenty of cider and apples waiting to be picked.

At Uncle John's Cider Mill in St. John's they started harvesting apples a few days ahead of schedule.

"Some varieties fared better than others," said President of Uncle John's Mike Beck. "Where those ones didn't the other ones made up for it so it's making out for a real nice even crop."

With plenty of apples to go around, Michigan shoppers won't feel any difference in their wallets.

"Since we have about the same crop as last year prices should be fairly consistent," Beck added.