Old Mission Orchard Announces Plan To Donate Apples To Local Food Banks
By Craig Manning | Sept. 12, 2023
Wunsch Farm, a fruit farm located on Old Mission Peninsula, has announced an initiative designed to use up its excess apple crops while also donating fruit to local food banks.
Barb Wunsch, one of the owners of the farm, shared on Nextdoor that the sixth-generation Wunsch Farm had “recently lost a 30-year sales relationship for over 5,000 bushels of apples due to local and industry politics.” The loss of that contract, particularly on the verge of the upcoming fall apple harvest, has the farm looking for a new home for its excess fruit.
“While the loss of a market is always a challenge, it is even harder for us to imagine letting all the apples that we have spent the past year growing go to waste when one in nine Michiganders and one in eight Michigan kids are struggling with food insecurity,” Wunsch wrote. “We are asking for your help to turn this difficult situation into an opportunity.”
Per Wunsch, losing the contract for the apples not only means Wunsch Farm doesn’t have a buyer for the fruit, but also means the farm won’t be able to pay for “the additional costs of harvesting and storing [the apples] without support.” With that situation in mind – and with a desire to “keep our regular harvest crew on the job and earning the wages they need to support their own families” – Wunsch Farm has hatched a plan to finance the harvest of the fruit while also getting it in the hands of people who either want or need it.
Here’s how the plan will work, according to Wunsch: The farm “will sell the apples by the half bushel” – or 20 pounds – at the “typical retail pricing” of $35 per half bushel for honeycrisps and $25 per half bushel for other apple varieties.
“Whatever amount of apples you buy, we will 100 percent match that purchase with a donation of the same amount of apples to the food bank,” Wunsch wrote.
Wunsch Farm won’t start harvesting apples until early next month, but is “getting the message out now because we need to know whether this project will work or not,” according to Wunsch.
“We will need to pre-sell as many bushels as we can to make this project viable,” she explained. “Selling a large volume of apples direct to consumers instead of to wholesalers will generate enough value for our family farm to support the cost of harvesting, storing, and donating the apples that don’t have a home.”
Those interested in purchase apples through the Wunsch Farm match program can do so on the Wunsch Farm website.
“If we are able to sell enough apples, we will start pickup on October 15,” Wunsch’s Nextdoor post concluded. “If not, we will refund your donations. If we are able to move forward, we will plan on sharing a season recap with the community after the harvest season to report back on the impact of the project.”
Pickups are slated occur at the Wunsch Farm market, which is located at 555 Wilson Road on Old Mission.Comment