By JASON KRAFT
Capital News Service
LANSING – A new technique would allow Michigan apples to be stored longer without draining their freshness. JMT US, a French company with Okemos offices, recently finished a six-month study of expanding the freshness of stored apples at Michigan State University. The purpose of the study was to compare the apple quality in controlled atmosphere modules with regular cold room storage, according to a recent Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) report. “It’s making a large box that can hold up to 800 pounds of apples into a modified atmosphere container, which limits the gas movement inside through membranes on the lid of the box,” said Randy Beaudry, a MSU horticulture professor. The low oxygen and elevated carbon dioxide levels in these containers keep the apples from spoiling.
The 2013 apple crop is projected to top 30 million bushels, a record year for the state of Michigan. The overabundance of apples is driving prices down at local superstores, as store owners can’t get them off the shelves fast enough. Michigan apples are generally sold fresh. However, a large number of them will be going into storage this year. To get an idea of how the crop is affecting local industries local growers and vendors, view the complete story below:
By LAUREN GIBBONS
Capital News Service
LANSING — As apple growers statewide struggle to make up for losses, experts say the economic ramifications of one of the toughest crop years in history could have negative long-term effect. Last spring, Michigan’s orchards were devastated by a series of weather anomalies that caused many trees to bloom weeks ahead of normal, causing the fragile blooms to die in the frosts that followed. Growers still are harvesting the crop, but estimates indicate they’ll oreap about 3 million bushels of apples statewide — millions below the average 26 million, Michigan Apple Committee Executive Director Diane Smith said. The crop has decimated an industry normally worth about $120 million a year. Taking into account losses incurred by suppliers, workers and chemical providers, the loss is even more devastating, said Amy Irish-Brown, an MSU Extension educator specializing in commercial tree fruit in Southwest Michigan.