Apple harvest season booming for businesses


CHARLOTTE, Mich. (WLNS) – In the midst of the fall season, there’s one thing that seems to be at the top of everybody’s list and that’s going to an apple orchard.

One apple farm owner says business is booming this season.

Tis the season for apple picking and here at Country Mill farm, thousands of people make their way to the orchard every weekend.

“I just bought a half a peck of honey crisp today, they’re my favorite,” said Apple Connoisseur Paul Kania.

For more than 40 years, Steve Tennes, his family and trusty crew have run the successful business.

“Being a farmer is a job 12 months out of the year, as soon as the season’s over we’ll start pruning the apple trees and preparing for next year,” said Tennes.

Pumpkins, jams and jellies, of course donuts and obviously freshly grown apples are just a few things people can buy and Tennes says this year’s apple crop, which starts early August, is thriving.

“This year’s crop is excellent…good quality, plenty for people to pick, and it’s making some of the best cider we’ve ever had,” Tennes stated.

By the end of apple season, Tennes says Country Mill gathers nearly 20,000 bushels.

From Macintosh to Golden Delicious, there’s over 30 varieties of apples at Country Mill…but the ultimate favorite is honey crisp.

“It’s sweet and has a wonderful crisp,” said Tennes.

Even though this summer’s crop season was extremely dry, that didn’t stop this season’s apple harvest from skyrocketing. In fact, Tennes says sales have shot up.

“We’ve seen a nice, moderate increase…five to ten percent which is great and at a sustainable growth,” Tennes stated.

But all business aside, Tennes says his favorite part of running the orchard is seeing the smiles on people’s faces.

“Whether it’s picking apples or picking pumpkins or enjoying some cider and donuts on a cool, crisp fall day, watching families have time to bond together,” he said.

And according to the Michigan Apple Committee, our state’s apple crop is expected to hit 31-million bushels in 2016.