The Image of the Month for October 2007 from the Archives of Michigan begin:
This photo depicts apple pickers in the Old Mission Peninsula. It was taken in the early 1890’s. (The caption on the front of the photo gives the year as “1894.” However, identifying information on the back gives the year as “1891.” The exact date, then, is uncertain.)
Michigan’s “fruit belt” strides the shore of Lake Michigan. The Lake itself plays a key role. It functions as a moderating body, preventing temperatures from getting too cold in the fall and too hot in the summer. It also provides the frequent rainfall that fruit farmers require. This climate combines with rich soil and regional topography to provide ideal fruit-growing conditions.
Michigan’s fruit industry started to boom about the time of the Civil War. By then, Chicago’s growing population had provided a ready market. Transportation improvements (notably the expansion of railroads) provided greater access to this and other population centers.
Read on for more about this and other great photos from Michigan’s past, and if you’d like to learn more about apples in the present day, check out the first ever Absolute Michigan Word of the Week: Apples!