ALTO PASS, IL (KFVS) - It's a good year to be in the apple harvesting business. Cooler weather means early crop and more dollars to the Heartland.
With 144 years in business, Rendleman Orchards, has a 'good' problem and the Vice President, Michelle Sirles, agreed.
"This time of year we are picking and packing and shipping and selling fast and furious...right now in Southern Illinois we are about a week to 10 days ahead on apple harvest…it's a great thing for our areas and our region. It means that we are harvesting earlier. And we are getting in on that wholesale market."
Sirles described getting to those buyers ahead of their competitors.
"These Chicago buyers can get produce from us quite a bit earlier in the season than they can say from our counterpart in Michigan that raise similar crop...that's' a great advantage we have in our area," Sirles said. "It brings a lot of money to this area because we are selling and bringing Chicago and northern state money back to Southern Illinois, providing jobs."
All thanks to Mother Nature, Sirles explained.
"Well we are having warmer and warmer winters all the time it seems…but this is the first year in a long time it's been this early. And we've had a really unseasonably cool August which means the apples have colored up on those cool nights and makes them ready to harvest."
Whether it's from your local school, grocery store or even farmers market, the apple in your refrigerator is probably from Rendleman Orchards.
"All of ours is farm to table…because we ship within an eight hour radius. That's about as far as we like to go. It keeps our produce the absolute freshest and the most pristine with the fewest marks from transportation," Sirles explained. "People are demanding local. They see the state our shape is in. they want to support our own state employ people in our state and this allows that."
The orchard is 110 acres of apples. Rendleman Orchards also has a competitive advantage because they are globally food safety certified.