It has been a great few weeks for us. Honeycrisp quality is excellent and demand is crazy. Galas picked more than our estimate so that is good news too. We are almost done picking. Today the pickers are wrapping up the last picking on Honeycrisp, and tomorrow they will probably finish Jonagold and Golden Delicious. The Northern Spy apples are big and beautiful and so are the Ida Reds. All of the apples taste sweeter this year due to the early season and warm weather. We have very few drops because we were so on top of picking the small crop. The processors are paying about $180.00 for a 20 bushel box of juice apples (about 4 times more than aversge) so the deer hunters are going to have price shock on deer feed apples.
With reduced apple picking we were able to do a good job with squash and pumpkins. Jim King and Josh spent a lot of time this summer getting the irrigation water wheels working and into the squash/pumpkin fields. This week we picked about sixty bins of big beautiful squash, and we ran them over the brush to get the dirt off and ready for sale.
With reduced apple volume we are doing a lot more retail to keep the cash flow up as much as possible. So on Wednesdays Rose and Betsy and sometimes an additional helper head to Alpena to direct market the apples and squash at the Alpena Livestock Auction grounds. We have been going since once a week in the fall since 1980. Jack is going to the Gaylord Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Petoskey on Fridays. Jim’s son-in-law Mark Schiller went to Boyne City Farmers Market one Saturday but Boyne City Farmers Market doesn’t want us back this year as they want to protect their existing vendors. (from our awesome apples and marketing). Now Jack was refused entry at the Charlevoix Farmers Market too. (not to be confused with Charlevoix Apple Fest).
Looking forward we are going to continue at Gaylord, and Petoskey farmers markets while the weather and turnout allows. We are hoping for a big Saturday on October 6 at the Boyne City Harvest Festival. We haven’t done this one for a few years but it has grown and moved to downtown so we are fired up to be there. Then on October 12, 13, and 14, we will have a big crew at the Charlevoix Apple Fest. The Apple Fest has grown over the years so that we will have more than a dozen employees and family up there if we have good weather on Saturday.
If you are thinking of shipping apples this is a good year to do it. There are very few apples in the Midwest and Great Lakes Region so your friends might not get the ones they like this year. Our McIntosh, Northern Spy, Honeycrisp, and Jonagolds are exceptionally good this year too. Lynne is piling up boxes to go to UPS as I write this. She hand selects the apples for shipping so they make a very nice pack.