blueberries http://michiganradio.org en Record lows to record highs: Michigan fruit growers’ incredible comeback story http://michiganradio.org/post/record-lows-record-highs-michigan-fruit-growers-incredible-comeback-story <p>It’s been a couple of roller coaster years for the state’s fruit growers.</p><p>Michigan <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/apples">apple growers </a>had the most dramatic ride. 80-degree weather in March 2012, followed by multiple freezes <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/it-s-official-2012-worst-year-record-michigan-cherry-growers">caused total crop failure that fall,</a> the worst since 1945.</p> Mon, 31 Mar 2014 11:20:28 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16985 at http://michiganradio.org Record lows to record highs: Michigan fruit growers’ incredible comeback story Deadline nears to comment on blueberry farming in wetlands http://michiganradio.org/post/deadline-nears-comment-blueberry-farming-wetlands <p>Nobody grows more <a href="http://michiganradio.org/term/blueberries">blueberries </a>in the U.S. than Michigan. In the past, many growers were exempt from wetland regulations. But the federal Environmental Protection Agency is making Michigan tighten <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/big-changes-are-coming-wetland-regulations-michigan">its wetland regulations</a> and blueberry production is a part of that.</p><p>The state will have to prove to the EPA that the proposed changes will follow federal laws, including the Clean Water Act.</p> Sun, 09 Feb 2014 18:18:54 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16368 at http://michiganradio.org Deadline nears to comment on blueberry farming in wetlands Making $1.50 an hour to pick blueberries http://michiganradio.org/post/making-150-hour-pick-blueberries <p>This week I’m bringing you segments from my documentary, <strong>“Voices from the Fields,”</strong> a story of migrant workers in Michigan. It will air Wednesday on Stateside.</p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Michigan is the nation’s</span><a href="http://blueberries.msu.edu/" style="line-height: 1.5;"> largest producer of blueberries.</a>&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">But getting blueberries to our bowls means long tedious work for the people who pick them. And in some cases, workers complain that the pay is far too low.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When I was reporting for this documentary, I visited the Hamilton Family.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When I met up with them they were living in a broken down trailer behind an old flea market garage and a vacant parking lot cluttered with tall weeds in southwest Michigan.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Seven people were living in the trailer. One of them was Randy Hamilton Sr., the father of the family. They are white and are a <a href="http://http://www.doleta.gov/agworker/report/ch1.cfm">minority</a> in the fields. Hamtilon Sr. has been doing migrant work since he was in 8th grade. That's when he dropped out of school in order to make money picking in the fields. &nbsp; </span></p><p>“There’s no other jobs for us that you’ve got a high school diploma, and we don’t have it,” he says.</p><p>The Hamilton’s were out of work and out of money.</p><p>They quit their job picking blueberries in southwest Michigan. That’s because they couldn’t keep up with the picking demands in order to make minimum wage.</p><p> Mon, 07 Oct 2013 13:06:00 +0000 Emily Fox 14681 at http://michiganradio.org Making $1.50 an hour to pick blueberries Brazil wants apples and blueberries, here's why that's great for Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/brazil-wants-apples-and-blueberries-heres-why-thats-great-michigan <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">When we think about food grown in Michigan, many people might assume that </span>Michiganders<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> are the ones who are consuming it.</span></p><p>It turns out we aren't the only ones eating our state's crops.</p><p>Michigan is number 17 among other states in agricultural product exportation, but that could increase in the next ten years.&nbsp;</p><p>Jamie Zmitko-Somers is with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.</p><p> Wed, 05 Jun 2013 21:08:53 +0000 Stateside Staff 12902 at http://michiganradio.org Brazil wants apples and blueberries, here's why that's great for Michigan South Haven celebrates top crop at National Blueberry Festival this weekend http://michiganradio.org/post/south-haven-celebrates-top-crop-national-blueberry-festival-weekend <p>Michigan is the largest blueberry producing state in the country, and Van Buren County produces the most blueberries in Michigan.</p><p>“It’s natures perfect fruit, if&nbsp;you stop and think about it. There’s not any seeds that you have to deal with. You don’t have to peel it. You rinse it. You eat it. And not only do they taste good, they’re good for you,” Shelly Hartmann said.</p><p>Hartmann owns The Blueberry Store in downtown South Haven and a huge blueberry farm, True Blue Farms, in Grand Junction.</p><p>At <a href="http://www.theblueberrystore.com/">The Blueberry Store</a> you can get just about anything with blueberries in it. “Blueberries aren’t just for pancakes and muffins anymore,” Hartmann said.</p><p>I spot blueberry bath soaps, blueberry coffee, frozen and fresh blueberries, blueberries in brats and sausages, chocolate covered blueberries, blueberry candles, dog treats, mustard, popcorn, soda pop, butter, cookies, pancake mix, pie filling, jam, jelly and blueberry whoopee pies. Plus there’s dried blueberries, and even blueberry flavored beef jerky. The list goes on and on.</p><p>Hartman says this year’s crop has been affected by the dry conditions, but fared much better than other fruits grown in the region.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.blueberryfestival.com/">National Blueberry Festival</a> celebrating the region’s top fruit crop in South Haven is nearly 50 years old. Organizers typically expect around 40,000 people to come for the blueberry pancake breakfast, the live music, a blueberry parade and the very messy but very entertaining blueberry pie eating contest.</p><p>Here's a video the festival posted on youtube of one of the blueberry pie eating contests Friday afternoon.</p><p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxI094AKU5c&amp;feature=youtu.be</p><p> Sat, 11 Aug 2012 02:17:43 +0000 Lindsey Smith 8643 at http://michiganradio.org South Haven celebrates top crop at National Blueberry Festival this weekend From Michigan's fields to Chinese dinner tables http://michiganradio.org/post/michigans-fields-chinese-dinner-tables <p>China is already playing a role in Michigan’s effort to diversify its economy. The country’s 1.3 billion people don’t want just cars from Michigan companies, they also want Michigan foods.</p><p>From baby food to blueberries, Michigan is tapping into a new and profitable market in China.</p> Mon, 07 Nov 2011 06:31:52 +0000 Tracy Samilton 4853 at http://michiganradio.org From Michigan's fields to Chinese dinner tables