Grand Rapids, Mich. - The Heeren Brothers are taking a sweet bite out of life after finish a successful year distributing Michigan grown apples to the world, even during the winter.
Bruce Heeren of Heeren Brothers said they moved into their $22 million facility last November and they've just finished packaging and distributing the 2013 crop.
"We've got about four months under our belt packaging the 2013 crop and we've started in August on the 2014 apple crop," said Heeren.
Heeren's first priority is distributing to Michigan consumers and the company packs and sends apples to many countries around the world.
"The Caribbean, Central America, and South America seem to be the primary places we export to, as well as Canada and Mexico," said Heeren.
The apples are carefully handled by state of the art machines, which makes sorting apples from color, size and grades much easier than in the past.
A majority of the crop is picked in September and October and the apples are available during the winter thanks to atmosphere controlled storage rooms where they maintain a very low level of oxygen.
"It kind of puts them to sleep and doesn't allow them to ripen," said Heeren. "That's how we're able to store apples and have them 12 months out of the year."
The apples are sent to the packaging lines where they're sorted into consumer and bulk packs that show up at many convenient, retailer and food stores across the country.
Regardless of whether an apple a day keeps the doctor away, thank goodness for Michigan grown apples.