Celebrate the Autumn Flavors of Pure Michigan
Due to its unique microclimate, Michigan produces over 200 commodities on a commercial basis and is the second-most agriculturally diverse state in the country (second only to California). Nearly 27% of the state’s entire land—10 million acres—is still dedicated to farmland, with more than 53,000 farms operating between the two peninsulas. Over a million jobs, almost 24% of the state’s workforce, is supported by agriculture in some way. As such, the state’s agricultural industry generates more than $92 billion to our state’s economy, making it Michigan’s #2 industry!
Did you know?
More than 330 different kinds of farm commodities are produced in Michigan and for almost 50 of those commodities, Michigan ranks in the national top 10.
Michigan ranks 4th nationally for the number of Farmers Markets, with more than 300. Michigan’s total farmers markets grew 60% between 2009 and 2010.
Michigan ranks 19th in the nation for food processing, employing more than 130,000 and generating nearly $25 billion in economic activity.
Over 887,560 tons of fresh market and processing vegetables were grown in Michigan in 2007, ranking Michigan #8 in fresh market and #5 in processed vegetable production.
When $1 is spent locally, that single dollar impacts 3 to 7 different local businesses before leaving the local economy.
If every Michigan household spent just $10 of their weekly food budget on Michigan-made or Michigan-grown products, we would put $36 million per week into our state economy.
Here’s how we stack up on the fruits and vegetables:
Apples – Michigan is the third-largest apple producing state in the nation. In 2014, Michigan will harvest an estimated 28.74 million bushels of apples, gathered from more than 9.2 million apple trees covering 36,500 acres on 850 family-run farms. Apples are one of the largest and most valuable fruit crops in Michigan.
Asparagus – Michigan ranks #2 in the nation for Asparagus production, harvesting up to 25 million pounds annually (11,000 acres).
Beans – Michigan is known throughout the world as a top producer of dry edible beans – with more than 2500 bean growers, contributing over $120 million to the state’s economy.
Blueberries – Michigan is #1 one in highbush blueberry production in the country with almost 600 farms and over 19,000 acres ($130 million). Michigan produces up to 100 million pounds of blueberries each year.
Cabbage – In 2011, Michigan farmers across the state produced 75.9 million pounds of cabbage worth $12.1 million.
Carrots – In 2011, Michigan produced 6.8 million pounds of carrots for fresh use worth $7.6 million. This made Michigan the 2nd highest carrot producing state in the country. Michigan carrots are primarily found in the west, central counties of Montcalm and Oceana.
Celery – In 2011, celery generated $12.9 million from 99 million pounds grown in Michigan, ranking it 2nd among the top celery producing states in the country.
Cherries – Michigan dominates the red tart cherry marketplace, producing about 75% of the U.S. crop (200-250 million pounds – US production is 250-300 million pounds). Michigan’s sweet cherry acreage accounts for 15,700 acres (47,000 acres nationwide). Michigan joins the top four producers, harvesting about 17 percent of the crop each year.
Chestnuts – There are nearly 40 chestnut growers in Michigan – more chestnut farms and growers than any other state. Members of Michigan’s Chestnut Growers sold 80,000 lbs of Michigan sweet chestnuts in 2011.
Corn – In 2011, Michigan produced 89.3 million pounds of sweet corn for the fresh market worth $20.5 million.
Cranberries – Michigan ranks #6 nationally with almost 250 acres of cranberries generating about 40,000 barrels.
Cucumbers – Michigan ranks #1 in the US for pickling cucumbers. In 2011, Michigan produced 177,000 tons of pickling cucumbers with a value of $45.1 million. In addition, the state produced 70.3 million pounds of cucumbers for the fresh market worth $16.2 million.
Grapes – Michigan ranks #4 in grape production, growing 102.7 tons of grapes valued at $21.8 million, harvested from more than 12,000 acres of vineyards.
Honey – It is estimated that Michigan has between 1,200 and 1,500 beekeepers and about 100,000 summer bee colonies. Producers gathered a total of 5.1 million pounds of honey in 2011, ranking Michigan 7th nationally, with a value of $8.3 million.
Maple Syrup – Maple sugaring is Michigan’s oldest agricultural activity. In 2011, Michigan produced 123,000 gallons of maple syrup, ranking it 7th nationally. The economic contributions of the pure maple syrup industry to Michigan are nearly $2.5 million annually.
Mint – Michigan growers produce more than 50,000 pounds of spearmint and peppermint each year.
Onion – Michigan onion production in 2011 was 99.7 million pounds. This yielded a total value of $12.4 million.
Peaches – Michigan ranks #3 nationally for peach production, with 47 million pounds harvested annually.
Pears – In 2010, Michigan produced 900 tons of pears that generated $1.4 million.
Plums – Michigan produced 1,400 tons of fresh and processed plums in 2011 totaling nearly $1 million. Michigan is the 4th largest producer of plums in the nation.
Potatoes – Michigan ranks #7 nationally in potato production. The economic impact of Michigan potatoes is $164 million. Michigan’s 90 potato growers harvest 1.4 billion pounds from 43,000 acres. Michigan is the #1 grower of potatoes for the production of potato chips – with 70% of Michigan potatoes turned into chips.
Pumpkins – In 2011, Michigan pumpkins generated $16.8 million from production of 98.6 million pounds (harvested off 7400 acres), ranking the state #2.
Squash – In 2011, Michigan produced 122 million pounds of squash for fresh or processed use, totaling $25.5 million.
Strawberries – Michigan grows strawberries for both fresh and processed uses. In 2011, Michigan produced 43,000 tons of fresh strawberries and 3,000 tons of processed strawberries. The combined productions generated $4.8 million.
Sugar Beets – Michigan ranks #5 in the nation in sugar beet production. Michigan’s Saginaw Valley and Thumb area to the southeast corner of the state, produces more than 90% of the sugar beets grown east of the Mississippi River.
Tomatoes – Michigan grows tomatoes for both fresh and processed uses. In 2011, Michigan produced 105,000 tons of tomatoes for processing and 44 million pounds of tomatoes for fresh market. The total value was $28.9 million.
Then, there’s the meat and dairy, as well as hunting and fishing:
Cattle – Michigan’s cattle herd totaled 1.04 million in January 2007, with an estimated value of $1.42 billion.
Cheese – As February 2012, and recorded by MDA, there are 31 cheese producers (recorded) in Michigan.
Fishing – Michigan ranks #5 in the nation in numbers of licensed resident and nonresident anglers who contribute $2 billion annually to our economy and generate $225 million in state tax revenue.
Hunting – Michigan ranks #3 in the nation in licensed hunters (more than 750,000) who contribute $1.3 billion annually to our economy and generate $153 million in state tax revenue.
Milk (Dairy) – Milk is Michigan’s top commodity, bringing in $1.4 billion in cash receipts. There are 5000 dairy farmers in Michigan, housing more than 335,000 cows that produce over 7.9 billion gallons of milk. Michigan ranks #7 nationally in annual milk production and #5 nationally in annual ice cream production.
Shrimp – The Shrimp Farm in Okemos is Michigan’s first and only indoor farm and the first operation of its kind in the world.
Swine – Michigan’s hog production totaled 556 million pounds in 2007, ranking us 14th in the nation. Cass County is the #1 county in Michigan for hogs.
Turkey – Michigan turkey producers raise approximately 4.6 million Tom turkeys annually, accounting for 95% of what’s produced in Michigan. 16 producers, operate 43 farms, with an economic impact around $90 million.
And don’t forget the beverages:
Cider – The fastest growing craft beverage sector, Michigan boasts about a half dozen active producers, with many wineries and breweries also producing ciders.
Craft Beer – Michigan ranks #5 in the nation for the number of craft breweries, at more than 150. The total contribution of craft brewing in Michigan is more than 7100 jobs, $232,400,000 in wages and nearly $609 million in economic impact.
Distilled Spirits – Michigan’s craft distilling industry is growing at a rapid pace – ranking #4 in the nation in terms of overall number of distilleries (behind California, Oregon and Washington).
Mead – Honey wine. Michigan currently has about a half dozen producers throughout both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
Wine – Michigan’s 125+ wineries welcome more than 1 million visitors to their tasting rooms each year. The industry contributes nearly $800 million to the state’s economy each year, with sales of Michigan wine within the state growing at double-digit numbers over the past few years. Michigan currently ranks between #10 and #13 nationally for wine production.
As for the non-edibles:
Bedding Plants – Michigan ranks 3rd in the nation in the value of wholesale sales of floriculture products in 2010, behind California and Florida. Reports from Michigan’s 625 commercial growers showed an estimated wholesale value of $402.7 million for all surveyed floriculture crops.
Christmas Trees – Michigan ranks third in the U.S. in the number of trees harvested annually, producing 3 million trees on average. There are nearly 700 Christmas tree growers in the state with an annual wholesale value exceeding $40 million.
Poinsettias – Michigan ranks seventh in U.S. poinsettia production. In 2010, Michigan’s 54 poinsettia growers produced 2.3 million plants (and about 25 varieties).
For more, visit the Michigan Department of Agricultural website at www.michigan.gov/mda. For agri-tourism options, check out these websites:
Michigan Agri-Tourism Association
Michigan Farm Markets & Pick Directory
Michigan Farm Markets Association
Great Lakes Cider & Perry Association