“We just didn’t get the severe low temperatures as the west side of the state,” he said.
Swindeman said frost protection equipment also played an important role in preserving the crop.
“Without frost protection, we would have gotten fried,” he said.
Dan Heeren, vice president of Michigan Fresh Marketing LLC, Belding, said some orchards in his area may harvest a crop close to 20% of normal.
He said the firm expects to put some apples into controlled-atmosphere storage and extend marketing of fresh apples until the first of the year, he said.
Swindeman said he expects that bags of fruit will open in the $32-34 per carton range, with tray pack fruit in the $40-44 per carton range. Consumers will likely see 3-pound bags of apples priced near $4.99 per bag range, Swindeman said.
Holding substantial amounts of apples this season has put him in contact with many retailers looking for fruit, he said.
The short crop put early supplies of gingergolds and paulareds in the $28-30 per carton range as of Aug. 23.
Retailers used to handling Michigan apples won’t have the volume or mix of fruit they are accustomed to, but they will have some fruit, he said. “We are going to have little bit of all varieties, and some won’t go very far at all,” he said.
Honeycrisp is one variety that will be extremely tight, he said.
Varieties that have fared better than average include galas, golden delicious and jonathans, Rothwell said.
Annette Bjorge, owner of Fruit Acres Farms and Farm Market, Coloma, Mich., said her operation only expects to have fruit until late October from the short 10% of normal crop. The company’s farm market also plans to look to other apple suppliers in Michigan and Ohio to help make up for local supply, she said.