Our growers are the key to our success. Check below for more information and to meet our growers.
The Alpers Family has operated Redpath Orchards since Raymond Alpers was hired in 1938 to tend to and develop fruit crops in the Leelanau Peninsula. Today, David and Chris, 2nd and 3rd generation farmers, still manage Redpath Orchards and also own Alpers Farms. Both operations are run from the same location in East Leland, Michigan. Here, westward sloping hills overlook Lake Michigan, creating a perfect climate to grow many types of fruit. This little part of Michigan is often referred to as the best place to grow fruit crops in North America because of its unique border of water on both sides.
Currently, Redpath Orchards/Alpers Farms grows Tart Cherries, Sweet Cherries, and Fresh Fruit Apples on over 1,000 acres. Every acre of the farm is GAP and MEAEP certified. These qualifications demonstrate their commitment to environmental safety, as well as guarantee the opportunity to continue supplying BelleHarvest with only premium fruit. Today’s apple plantings include Honeycrisp, Gala, Fuji, Zestar, Jonagold, and other popular varieties.
Redpath Orchards/Alpers Farms has had a long-standing relationship that goes back many years with BelleHarvest. The Alpers currently operate a receiving station acting as a hub for all the northern growers associated with BelleHarvest. There, they check fruit quality, color, and taste. Only then are the fresh picked apples transported to one of BelleHarvest’s many storage rooms.
Redpath Orchards/Alpers Farms looks forward to extending this long lasting relationship with BelleHarvest for many generations to come.
Roossinck Orchards and Roossinck Fruit Storage near Fremont, Michigan, have been in the apple business for over one hundred years. John A Roossinck and his brother, Henry Roossinck, took over the business from their father and grandfather in the early 1950’s. Henry Roossinck died several years ago, but John’s sons, Ralph and John Alex, and his grandson, Eric, have taken over the business. The Roossinck’s have grown from a small apple orchard and general farming to over 300 acres of orchard currently. The newest plantings are high density Galas, HoneyCrisp, Fujis, JonaGolds, and red strains of MacIntosh. Roossinck Fruit Storage stores and markets apples from Roossinck Orchards and many other growers in the West Michigan area through BelleHarvest Sales. The Roossinck’s have been selling apples through BelleHarvest for over 50 years. The storage has 9 CA rooms totaling 130,000 bushels and leases other storage space to help serve the growers. The apples are graded on an Autoline packing line with color sorting technology to help meet the requirements of the Sales Company. Roossinck Fruit Storage can run 1800 bushels or more per day and pack 1 ½ to 2 truck loads daily.
Third generation farmers Tom and Laura Heffron of Belding, MI, own and operate their farm in the fertile soils of NE Kent Country. Their operation began back in 1958 when Tom’s father decided to expand from the dairy business into growing fruit. From that point in time to today, their operation has expanded to over 550 acres and diversified with multiple crops including apples, tart cherries and various row crops.
The Heffrons have worked tirelessly to rejuvenate their apple operation throughout the years. They recognize the need to continual plant those varieties that the consumer wants. They currently grow 10 different types of apples, including the popular Honeycrisp, Fuji and Gala varieties. Their new plantings today typically are dwarf trees, irrigated and on a trellised system which provide a consistent higher quality piece of fruit as well as help them realize gains in labor efficiencies. “Everyone has to focus on quality in their operation”, says Tom.
The Heffrons have worked closely with BelleHarvest Sales since the farms’ inception. Tom currently sits on our board and has for 20 years. “With myself and 4 other growers on the board we make sure BelleHarvest Sales always has the growers and customer best interest in mind.”