Michigan growers unite, form Applewood Fresh

Michigan growers unite, form Applewood Fresh

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A group of Michigan apple growers have joined another long-time grower-packer to form Applewood Fresh Growers LLC.

Although a new company, with new alliances, Applewood Fresh traces its roots to the 1935 founding of Applewood Orchards Inc., Deerfield, Mich.

Four other growers will also supply Applewood Fresh Growers:

  • P.G. Orchards, Sparta;
  • Steffens Orchards, Sparta;
  • RKS Farms, Sparta; and
  • Ronald Rasch Farms LLC, Grand Rapids.

“Our work is about more than just sales or profit,” Scott Swindeman, Applewood Fresh owner and fourth-generation grower and partner at Applewood Orchards, said a news release. “We take pride in serving as a reliable partner to our growers and customers, providing access to healthy, great-tasting fruit to people across the country and cultivating strong industry relationships along the way.”

Applewood Fresh Growers produce 21 apple varieties across the country year-round. The company’s grower network has more than 11,000 acres, and apple varieties include some managed (licensed) varieties: Kiku, Kanzi, Rave and SweeTango, according to the release.

Applewood Fresh emphasizes sustainability measures adopted by growers, including advanced irrigation and pest control, eco-friendly packaging and solar/wind power.

“We are thrilled to extend the legacy of a multi-generational company that not only offers delicious, quality apples but also values and prioritizes its relationships throughout the supply chain, from grower to buyer to consumer,” Antonia Mascari, director of marketing at Applewood Fresh.

Applewood Fresh announced the new company on Jan. 8, the same day Riveridge Produce Marketing, another Sparta apple grower-shipper-marketer, announced its acquisition of Sparta apple company Jack Brown Produce’s sales operation.