Blackcaps: Blackberry or Black Raspberry?

Blackcaps Michigan Blackberries

Blackcaps, photo by David Marvin

When I first saw these, I was sure they were blackberries, but after reviewing Blackberry or Black Raspberry? from Identify that Plant, I’m changing my mind. They say that Blackberry (Rubus allegheniensis) is frequently confused with Black raspberry (Rubus occidentalis).

I’m leaning towards Black raspberry based on the appearance of the berry, but I could certainly be wrong. What do you think?

View David’s photo background bigilicious and see more in his macro goodness in his slideshow.

More summer wallpaper on Michigan in Pictures!

Strawberry Season, Strawberry Moon

Fresh Picked Strawberries

Fresh Picked Strawberries, photo by Dee

June’s moon is full on full on June 20 at 7:02 AM. It was known as the Strawberry Moon by Algonquin tribes, and it’s looking like Michigan’s strawberry season will be ramping up right on schedule. Here’s a couple of strawberry tidbits via Michigan Strawberries are Ready to Pick on Absolute Michigan:

Strawberries are grown in every county of Michigan and your fun fact of the day is that 53% of seven to nine year olds say strawberries are their favorite fruit. Strawberries are high in iron and Vitamin C – Eight strawberries will provide 14% of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for kids – and have less than 60 calories per cup.

Strawberries were a symbol of perfection and righteousness that medieval stone masons carved on altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals. In parts of Bavaria, country folk still practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves. They believe that the elves, who are passionately fond of strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and abundance of milk in return.

View Dee’s photo bigger and see more in her slideshow.

More strawberry goodness on Michigan in Pictures!

Farm Market Friday: Red Haven Peaches

Red Haven Peaches

Peaches, photo by alyssa g

I’ve shared the story of the Redhaven peach before on Michigan in Pictures. Strangely enough, it featured a photo by a photographer named Alissa!

Peaches are rolling in at farm markets all across Michigan.  A favorite article that Michigan History Magazine shared on Absolute Michigan tells the story of A Peach of a Man:

Many people have contributed to Michigan’s fruit industry, but Stanley Johnston stands above the rest. Johnston not only developed a new peach that is the most widely grown peach in the world today. He also made Michigan the nation’s leading producer of blueberries.

Johnston was the superintendent of Michigan State University’s (MSU) experiment station in South Haven from 1920 to 1969. There, he developed a better peach. Johnston took peaches that had good features, like ones that ripened at different times or did not turn brown when canned or frozen. He took pollen from the male plant and joined it to the flower of the female plant. When the fruit grew, he collected seeds and started a new tree. When the tree produced fruit five years later, he could see if he made a better peach.

During his career, Johnston grew and studied more than 20,000 peach trees. Eight different types, called “havens” (for South Haven), were planted by farmers. Havens ripened earlier, so the peach-growing season was longer, which meant more peaches could be grown and sold. One of these peaches, named Redhaven for its nice red color, is the most popular peach in the world today.

Read on at Absolute Michigan and definitely get down to your local farmer’s market for some peachy goodness!

View Alyssa’s photo background bigalicious and see more in her Blake Farms slideshow.

 

 

Apples on the Ridge push through Mothers Day frost

empire apple tree blossoming 4/4 2013

empire apple tree blossoming, photo by Alissa Holland

NPR’s Noah Adams visited “The Ridge” to see how the apple crop was faring in 2013 after the devastation of 2012. The engaging 4 minute piece looks at methods they use to battle frost and how last year’s 99% wipeout hurt farmers. It’s well worth your time, but if you’re looking for the punch-line, the crop appears to have the potential for full harvest.

The Ridge Economic Agricultural Partners (REAP) explain:

Fruit Ridge or “the Ridge” is a topographical land feature located NW of Grand Rapids, Michigan and considered to be an agricultural mecca. The glaciers of long ago left behind gently rolling slopes. The deposits were fertile clay loam soils with excellent moisture holding qualities that provided great soil and terrain for the growing of premium fruits, vegetables and the raising of livestock, including buffalo.

Approximately 8 miles wide by 20 miles long, the Fruit Ridge is regarded as one of the prime fruit-growing regions in the world. Elevations greater than 800 feet and its location (about 25 miles from Lake Michigan), creates a unique climate (ideal growing and moderate winters) for fruit production. The Ridge supplies 60% of the states (Michigan) apples. An estimated 66% of the Ridge lies in Kent County, all within 20 miles of downtown Grand Rapids.

“The Ridge” is an area of 158 square miles (8 miles wide and 20 miles long) covering 7 townships and 4 counties: Kent (Alpine, Sparta, Tyrone), Newago (Ashland), Muskegon (Casnovia) and Ottawa (Chester and Wright).

Click through for more about the growers and markets and also see Fruit Ridge on Wikipedia.

Alissa took this photo of a blossoming Empire apple tree in her backyard on May 7th. See it bigger on black and view many more in her how my garden grows slideshow.

More apples and more farms on on Michigan in Pictures.

Picking Apples, W. Golden Orchard 1894 … or thereabouts

Picking Apples, W. Golden Orchard 1894

Picking Apples, W. Golden Orchard 1894, photo courtesy Archives of Michigan

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!