After last year's pittance of an apple crop, Michigan apples are an economic sweet spot again.
"This year's Michigan apple crop is expected to be 10 times as plentiful as last year's puny output.
While the big bounce-back is welcomed in the nation's third-largest apple-producing state, the bounty presents its own challenges: How do growers, packers and processors maximize storage to avoid flooding stores with the fruit, thus crashing the market and lowering growers' profits?...
A fairly recent innovation called 1-methylcyclopropene, or 1-MCP, temporarily stops apples' ability to respond to their own cues for ripening...
Known commercially as "SmartFresh," it "has been a game-changer for apple storage and is partly responsible for the up-trending consumption of apples in the U.S. over the last 5 to 10 years," Michigan State University horticulture professor Randy Beaudry said. He is involved in updating a traditional apple refrigeration method known as "controlled-atmosphere storage," or "CA," to double the time Honeycrisp apples can be stored.
In a typical year, Michigan's 9.2 million trees produce 20 million to 23 million bushels, pumping up to $900 million into the economy...The state distributes to 26 states and 18 countries."