5 Things You Didn’t Know Michigan Grows Better than Most States

Pickling - Bushel o' cukes

If anyone tries to tell you that Michigan is only known for its industrial history, tell them to think again!

Aside from automotive and advanced manufacturing, agriculture happens to be one of Michigan’s biggest industries. Agriculture alone contributes $101.2 billion annually to the state economy and exports more than $1 billion worth of goods to countries like Mexico, Japan and Canada. The reason for this high level of production is Michigan’s micro-climates, which support the growth of more than 200 commercial commodities. This kind of crop selection makes Michigan the second most agriculturally diverse state in the nation.

This diversity also makes it more likely to buy Michigan made goods when shopping at the grocery store. I think there is no better way to show your Michigan pride than buying food grown right here in the state. It’s a good way to support our domestic economy and it just tastes better.

Now that I’ve sparked your dedication to products grown here in our fine state, here are five agricultural products that Michigan is a champ at producing:

  1. Cucumbers (for pickling)

Michigan ranks first nationally for the production of cucumbers for pickling. If you’re anything like me, you didn’t know that pickles started out as cucumbers until you read this article. By soaking them in a brine, vinegar or other solution to ferment, these cucumbers will give you great homemade dill pickles.

  1. Apples

Apples are another one of Michigan’s top exports. Michigan harvested a whopping 1.26 billion pounds of apples in 2013. Of this large harvest, almost 60 percent of apples have been processed into other products. This formula results in one of Michigan’s best fall activities: visiting apple orchards and cider mills. With 850 family-run farms and 36,500 acres of apple trees, orchards and mills serve as a provider of delicious fruit and a fun seasonal activity.

  1. Asparagus

The mitten state is America’s third largest asparagus producers, measuring 23 million pounds annually. It is also harvested differently, as it is hand-snapped at the stalk above ground instead of below ground making it more flavorful and tender.

  1. Cherries

The state of Michigan produces more cherries than any other state in the nation, accounting for over 70 percent of the cherries produced in America. Traverse City hosts the annual National Cherry Festival as a testament to this reputation.

  1. Christmas trees

Unlike the other items, you maybe shouldn’t try to eat Christmas trees. However, Michigan is third in the nation in the number of Christmas trees harvested. In addition, Michigan sells over a dozen types at the wholesale level which is more than any other state.

Interested in buying Michigan-made products? Check out these posts:

Photo credit: Rebecca Siegel

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