While many people think of Michigan as being primarily a cherry-growing state, apples are actually the state’s top fruit crop. According to the Michigan Apple Committee, there are more than 11 million apple trees in commercial production in Michigan, representing about 900 growers and producing around 30 million bushels of apples each year.
The majority of the state’s apple acreage is devoted to just a few varieties: Spartan, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, and Ida Red. But there are actually more than 50 different varieties of apples grown in Michigan, including some lesser-known types that are worth seeking out. Here are a few of the top apples grown in Michigan:
- Akane: A bright red Japanese apple with a crisp texture and tart flavor. It is one of the earlier-ripening apples, typically ready to harvest in late August or early September.
- Baldwin: An old-fashioned American variety that was once one of the most popular types of apples grown in the country. It has a reddish-brown skin with light stripes and a mildly sweet flavor. Baldwin apples are usually ready to harvest from late September to early October.
- Braeburn: A crisp and juicy New Zealand apple with a reddish-orange skin and yellowish flesh flecked with red highlights. The flavor is pleasantly tart with hints of spice. Braeburn apples ripen from mid-October to early November.
- Cameo: A pretty pinkish-red apple with creamy white flesh that is both sweet and tart. It was developed in Washington State and is one of the later-ripening varieties, typically ready to harvest from mid to late October.
- Cox’s Orange Pippin: One of the most famous English apple varieties, Cox’s Orange Pippin has a deep orange skin with streaks of red and greenish-yellow flesh that is both tart and sweetly aromatic. This variety ripens relatively early for an English type, usually from late September into October.
- Crimson Crisp: A new hybrid variety that was developed by crossing Crimson Topaz with Honeycrisp (see below). It has all the best attributes of its parent varieties – a crisp texture, juicy sweetness, and beautiful crimson color – making it one of the tastiest apples around! Crimson Crisps are typically ready to harvest from mid to late October.