Saturday, September 10, 2011

Apple Growers Face Bumper Crop Apple Year With Nobody to Harvest

They're saying the apple harvest this year is going to be monstrous.


In fact, I'm going down to the farmer's market this very morning to see this apple cornucopia for myself. I expect my mind to be blown. I EXPECT it.

Growing conditions in West Michigan, for the third largest apple producing state in America, have been perfect.


Bumper crop. Apples, apples, apples piling up and rolling around everywhere like popcorn bursting from the pan. BOOM. The point is, we're going to have a lot of apples this year.

And boy are the farmer's worried. Apparently state crack downs on immigration have taken a massive, crunchy bite from farmers' ability to harvest crops

Georgia’s new immigration law appears to have contributed to a reduced flow of migrant workers heading to northern parts of the country for fall harvests, Michigan agriculture representatives said. Growers said they haven’t seen as many “drive-ins” — carloads of workers — as they typically see this time of year.

“There are some indications … that the labor isn’t there,” Pat Chase, salesman for Sparta, Mich.-based Jack Brown Produce Inc.


A sufficient supply of migrant labor is critical for Michigan apple growers, whose crop is almost entirely hand-harvested. Unpicked apples deteriorate after reaching peak condition and eventually drop to the ground, costing growers income.



Rabbitry Remarks said...

Offer a decent wage/per lb. rate to pickers and you'll have all the help you can handle. Drive by the lines-down-the-street at any local jobs fair and pick people right out of the line. Income, even if you have to do a little real work for it, is income and I'm sure at this point many of those standing in lines (whether at the food stamp office or the workforce center) are probably ready to jump on just such an opportunity as this.

Martin Langeland said...

Lots of apples were a common event in England. Before Columbus brought the tomato it was used as a base for sauces, both sweet and savory. Preservation is the main problem. There is only so much apple sauce and apple butter (thick apple sauce) that can be faced. So they dumped whatever savories into it to make a sauce for meat or? Thought you might enjoy trying some Dum Luk's Sauce, or 'Original Worcestershire Sauce' after you return from the Farmer's Market.
I remember that well from the late fifties. I understand that one was buried under a freeway underpass. Glad they continued.

Muskegon Critic said...

Martin: Thanks! Thats some interesting stuff.

Rabbetry: No doubt. I was surprised at how much the pay is....$12 to $15 per hour. Though I believe that pay is contingent on X number of bushels picked per day. Heck, folks in Muskegon used pick blueberries until not too long ago. Hot, hand picking work in the middle of the summer. I'm confident harvesting is something that could catch on as local work again.