How ‘Bout Them Apples? Elgin Man Unifies Apple Producers
Tis the season for hot apple cider, hay rides, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and apple orchards. This time of year is BIG business for those apple orchards as it is a few months of chaos and then it's on to planning next year. We can buy apples from those orchards while we are there, but where do the Minnesota apples we buy in grocery stores come from? This Elgin man helped solve that question, he is like a modern-day Johnny Appleseed...kinda. Fred Wescott actually never really planned to have a career in apples.
In a Washington Times piece from this week, they lay-out in detail how Minnesota has become a successful apple producing state, regardless of the short growing season and harsh winters. And Wescott had a big hand in doing just that.
According to the Washington Times article, about 90 percent of Minnesota orchards are the direct-sale variety, farmer to consumer, and about 10 percent are part of the wholesale business, farmer to retailer. What Wescott did is bring together a collection of growers to provide apples to retailers who were looking for a consistent, quality supplier in the region. Wescott and this collection of growers created the Mississippi Valley Fruit Company in 1999.
Wescott has even purchased orchards in Washington state, and signed partnership deals with growers across North America in places such as New York state and Nova Scotia. The Elgin man even works with growers in Chile to make sure Minnesotans have apples to enjoy year round.
So the next time you enjoy a delicious apple, you probably have to thank Fred Wescott of Elgin for bringing it to the market.