Fall means a lot of wonderful things in Michigan, not the least of which is a great influx of fresh, crisp apples.  With an estimated annual impact of $700 million, apples are Michigan’s largest, and most valuable fruit crop.  Home to over 900 apples farms, covering 37,000 acres, the state ranks third in the U.S. (behind only Washington & New York) for apple production.

Whether baking, tossing them in a salad, or grabbing one of the crispy treats to eat on the go, eating Michigan apples and drinking local juice and cider is a great, healthy way to contribute to our state’s economic growth.  Michigan currently produces an average of 18 million bushels of apples each year, and with an increasingly wide variety, there’s something for nearly everyone.  How many varieties can you identify by the descriptions below? (See answers at bottom of page)

  1. The name gives away the origin of this pale burgundy cross between a Wagener and Jonathan. They are known to be very crunchy and to store quite well.
  2. A cross between Ben Davis and McIntosh, this red apple is slightly sweeter than its ancestors, with a hint of tartness, and is found frequently in desserts.
  3. This cold-tolerant, pocket-sized eating apple was so widely regarded that a company now known for pocket-sized devices named one of its first products after it.
  4. This yellow gem is one of the most popular varieties in the world. Beneath its thin skins lies a very sweet treat.
  5. Though its name may raise suspicion in some parts of the country, this tantalizing fruit is particularly useful for cooking. The green and dark red variety ripens late in the season and stores well.
  6. This mostly red apple, with patches of lime green is widely regarded as one of the best flavored, and is popular for eating fresh as well as cooking.  It’s not surprising that it rocks, having been discovered in Woodstock, New York.
  7. One of the new kids in the lineup of Michigan apples, this crisp, sweet apple has a tremendously long shelf-life and originated in Japan.
  8. The unmistakable dark red color and bumps on the bottom make this famous American variety one of the easiest apples to identify.
  9. Discovered in Sparta, this mild, juicy apple is Michigan’s own! It has a particularly short season from late summer to October.
  10. Named for its parents, this apple does particularly well in Michigan’s cool climate. It’s light yellow with a bright red overlay, and is typically quite large.
  11. An extremely early bearer, the mildly tart flavor of this yellowish-green fruit gets the Michigan autumn apple harvest off to a tasty start.
  12. In the storied history of the apple industry, this variety is a relative newcomer. Introduced by the University of Minnesota in 1991, the juiciness and crispness of this red and yellow fruit have made it a rising star.
  13. Orangeish-red in color, this local favorite, originated in New Zealand, and has a thinner skin with a soft, sweet flesh.
  14. Living up to its name, this combination of McIntosh and Delicious, is a sweet and tart ruby red treat. It’s a common choice for candy and caramel apples, as well sliced in salads, or as a crunchy snack.

After making your selections, remember these helpful hints.  Apples can bruise easily, so handle them gently.  Store them in a ventilated bag away from other foods that may have strong odors.  Cool air helps maintain the quality, so store them in a cool place or refrigerator.

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Answer Key: 1) IdaRed; 2) Cortland; 3) McIntosh; 4) Golden Delicious; 5) Northern Spy; 6) Jonathan; 7) Fuji; 8) Red Delicious; 9) Paula Red; 10) Jonagold; 11. Ginger Gold; 12) Honeycrisp; 13) Gala; 14) Empire

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.