According to historical records Michigan chose its state flower, the apple blossom, on April 28, 1897. Happy 120th anniversary apple blossom! So what is so special about this state flower selection? It was only fitting since Michigan is the third largest producer of apples in the country, behind Washington and New York. These little flowers provide us with one of our favorite fall time traditions, apple picking. (Also, a little known fact, the apple blossom is Arkansas’ state flower as well.)
Apple blossoms are typically in bloom from April to June and grow on trees that reach about 20 to 40 feet in height. The apple grows from the pink and white flower, ready for us to pick and enjoy through September and October at many of the local apple orchards throughout our state. One of the largest apples ever picked was grown in Caro, Michigan, weighing three pounds, two ounces.
It is believed that humans have been enjoying apples since 6500 B.C., but in Michigan we’ve been keeping track of our apple growers since 1939 when the Michigan State Apple Commission was formed. We grow about 16 different varieties in Michigan all ranging from sweet to tart to everything in between. Michigan’s apple industry brings in about $700-900 million in annual economic impact.
While we are just entering growing season, it never hurts to put some upcoming apple-centric festivals on the calendar. Check out how communities across Michigan celebrate the apple:
- Arts & Apples Festival (Rochester) – September 8-10
- Apple & BBQ Festival (Silver Lake Sand Dunes) – September 8-9
- John Parish Applefest (Fenton) – September 14-17
- 39th Annual Apple Fest (Charlevoix) – October 13-15
- 24th Annual Appleumpkin Festival (Tecumseh) – October 14-15
As the weather starts to warm up we can begin to look forward to indulging in some delicious apples and attending apple festivals, but for now let’s appreciate the blossom and all its hard work!