Devastating apple crops are forcing Michigan cider mills to drastically raise cider prices this year. Michigan, the third largest apple producing state, has lost approximately 90 percent of its fall apple crop; when farmers are usually collecting a total of 25 million bushels this time of the season, this year’s slim harvest comes to a mere 3 million bushels. The culprit? Abnormal weather patterns: extremely warm temperatures in March forced an early bloom, then was followed by several freezes in April.
Though cider mills have been anticipating the shortage since spring, consumers have been unprepared for the widespread effects on their favorite fall staple, apple cider. A local Michigan business, Parmenter’s Cider Mill and Winery, has been forced to raise their price of cider to $10.25 from last year’s $7.75, despite attempts at cost absorption. Generally, Michigan consumers can expect to see a 50 percent price increase, says a member of the Michigan State University Extension Service.
One local spoke to the effects of the extreme crop loss. “It’s an emotional connection with the fall, having cider and donuts,” she said. “It’s a rhythm to the life we’ve grown up with.”