(Washington D.C.) - A near doubling of last year's apple crop in Michigan forecast by USDA seems right on the money judging from growers in the southwest part of the state.
"Everybody in the area has a huge apple crop," said Annette Bjorge, owner of Fruit Acres Farm Market and U-Pick at 3452 Friday Road in Coloma.
Bjorge estimated her 20 acres of apple trees doubled their production from last year when the crop was primarily hurt by early season bud-killing frost. She said there was no early season frost or freezes this year, and the weather during the growing season was ideal.
Bjorge wasn't sure if the size of her crop would set any personal records considering the orchard had been in her family since 1846.
However, she said her apple crop this year would be one of the best at her farm, which also raises peaches, cherries, pears, and other fruit on about 200 acres.
The USDA estimates 26.1 million bushels of apples will come out of Michigan this year compared to 15.6 million bushels in 2021.
According to USDA, many growers in Michigan are also expecting some of their best yields since 2016. Michigan is the third leading apple producer in the country, with an average five-year crop size of 22 million bushels.
Agnes Cielbauer predicted her apple crop this year would be about 40 percent larger than last year. Cielbauer and her husband, Joseph, have owned Twin Maple Orchards at 15352 Cleveland Ave. near Galien for 58 years.
Cielbauer also wasn't sure if any production records would be set for apples at her orchard but left it open as a possibility. She was confident, though, this year's crop will be one of her best, not just in terms of volume but also in the size and quality of her apples.
"There are no bad apples on the trees," Cielbauer said.
Cielbauer also described the weather as "just right" for pollination.
"We did have our bees working," Cielbauer said.
Doug Forraht described his apple crop as above average and estimated production at his two growing locations at roughly 25 percent above 2021.
"I don't know if it's a record year, but it's pretty good. A very heavy crop," Forraht said.
Forraht's family owns Forraht Fruit Farms at 960 E. Lemon Creek Road at Berrien Springs and The Shafer Farm at 9800 Hartline Road in Baroda. There are nearly 40 acres of apple trees at both sites combined, along with 16 acres of peach trees and one acre of pear trees.
Forraht also credited no early season frost and what could be viewed as perfect weather conditions during the growing season for an abundant crop.
"We had a lot of timely rains and enough heat, but it wasn't excessive," Forraht said.
According to the USDA, the highest apple-producing state in the U.S. is Washington, followed by New York. The USDA is projecting 154 million bushels of apples coming out of Washington this year or about six million bushels less than 2021 because of a wet, windy, and colder than typical spring in the state. On the other hand, apple production in New York is expected to climb from 31.9 million bushels to 34.5 million bushels in 2022.
The USDA estimates this year's apple production nationwide will be up by three percent.