Food Bullying Podcast

Apples, fungi, & pheromones: Episode 101


“Everyday life on the farm isn’t always sunshine and roses.”

Apple farmerNick Schweitzwer, a fifth generation farmer from the area known as “the ridge” north of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Roughly 60% of Michigan’s apple production are grown in the area and Nick grows over 18 varieties on his farm.  He shares how there are many challenges unique to Midwest apple growers. Nick relishes the opportunity to share how he tackles the impact of high humidity, something his Pacific Northwest counterparts don’t grapple with.

Noting that the choice of organic or conventionally grown apples is a consumer choice, Nick cautions that when grocers make that decision for their shoppers, the results can be detrimental to this sector of agriculture.

“There has been at least one fairly large chain grocer that has decided to buy strictly organic apples and will not buy any conventionally grown fruit. If more followed this path, then it would have a serious negative effect for us growers in the Midwest and Atlantic states. We generally have high humidity and unfortunately, fungal diseases love humidity.”

In this episode, Nick also discusses what it means to “support local,” cross-pollination, treating fungi/weeds/insects in the orchard and explains the role of pheromones in growing apples. Nicole’s mind is blown learning about how this pheromone technology confuses pests and prevents them from mating. 

Find Nick on Insta & TikTok at and Twitter: @thatappleguy616.

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