While we were begging for winter to end, the Michigan Apple Committee was happy for the cold temperatures.
As a result, the 2014 Michigan apple crop is expected to be 28.74 million bushels. That’s about 435 million apple pies.
Diane Smith, executive Director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said that apple trees like the cold winter. The past lengthy winter allowed for the trees to stay dormant, and not wake too early before the spring.
“The apples look beautiful, there aren't any issues, and everything’s coming along the right way,” Said Smith.
*Listen to the full interview with Diane Smith above.
Gourmet food trucks have seen remarkable growth in recent years.
A new University of Michigan study looks at the phenomena.
Researcher Todd Schifeling is a doctoral candidate in sociology at UM. He’s also a big fan of food trucks. In fact, he says he was spending so much time eating at his local food truck, he thought he might as well get some research done at the same time.
Schifeling says gourmet food trucks tend to grow in communities with active locally grown food scenes and more than the average number of college graduates.
“The great thing about blueberries is you can pick them, you can freeze them, you know, without a whole lot of preparation, and just pour them on stuff,” says James Hancock, professor of Horticulture at Michigan State University.
If you haven’t guessed, Hancock has a passion for blueberries. In fact, he has spent the last 30 years cultivating the berry.
The blueberry industry in Michigan has been commercially growing berries since the 1900s. In 2011, the Michigan blueberry industry spanned 18,000 acres and yielded 72 million pounds of fruit valued at more than $118 million.
Hancock has developed three of the most widely planted blueberry varieties throughout his three decades at MSU. He breeds high bush blueberries: the Aurora, the Draper, and the Liberty blueberry.
Hancock said his blueberries are not genetically modified. Some are grown as far away as Chile and South Korea.
You know the name: Mario Batali – celebrity chef, restaurateur, infamous orange-Crocs-wearer. But what you might not know is that Batali is slightly obsessed with Northern Michigan – Leelanau Peninsula to be exact.
It seems Batali came across Northern Michigan just like a lot of people did. He married a woman and went on vacation back to a place she knew.
“Initially, I was like, well, I don’t know – a lake seemed small … then I got here. First of all, I didn’t realize we were on an “ocean.” Second of all, the water is as blue as the Caribbean. The sand here is as soft as the most amazing places in Hawaii I’ve ever been,” Batali recalled.
"There's a delicious culture of cherries, and there's magnificent understanding of grapes ... Gastronomically, it is very easy to fall in love with this place, because almost everything is delicious."
* Listen to our conversation with Mario Batali above.
Normally you won’t think anything of a tweet like this. But when that tweet comes at the end of July, it’s a little disconcerting.
With the temperatures over the past few weeks dipping into the 50s, it’s hard not to think about the bigger consequences.
The Union of Concerned Scientists recently said if climate trends continue, Michigan agriculture will be harmed. That’s a big issue when you consider that agriculture is the state’s second largest industry, and agri-food and agri-energy businesses make up more than 20% of the state’s workforce.
Philip Robertson is a professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences at Michigan State University. He joined us today to talk about how climate change could affect the future of farming in Michigan.
Jim Byrum was also with us to share what it means from the business side of agriculture. Byrum is the President of the Michigan Agri-Business Association.