VERGENNES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Nearly three months after strong winds and hail swept through parts of West Michigan, rotten apples are left decaying on the northern part of Railside Orchards land.
Aaron Roth, president of Railside Orchards and the Red Barn Market north of Lowell, said once the hail pierced through the crop in June, there was nothing else they could do. They decided to let the fruit drop on its own instead of wasting labor on a section — about 15 acres — that would yield no return.
“We took a hit with frost, then we took a hit with drought, and then we took a hit with hail. So it’s been an interesting year,” he said.
In all, he said, his orchard lost about 40 acres of crop due to various weather conditions.
Still, the apple crop across the state has been strong. Michigan State University’s apple maturity report found Gala and Honeycrisp harvests are close to finished for Kent County orchards and Fuji, Empire, Jonagold and McIntosh are nearly ready to be picked.
“We had an absolute record crop last year and in some ways that’s not good because it drives the prices down,” Roth said. “And we’re still dealing with apples from last year. I still have 180 bins of fruit in the control atmosphere from last year.”