Sustainable growing techniques that yield high quality fruit of all varieties
Joe Rasch, from the well-known Rasch family of apple growers, began growing apples in 1984 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
“I grow apples,” Joe Rasch says, simplifying a very complicated process. He continues, “It’s a year round job. We focus on the current desires of the market, take good care of our trees, plant, harvest and pack. The result is a reliable crop people come back to every year.” Joe Rasch Orchards prides itself on delivering the best pack in Michigan, and that starts with sustainable growing techniques yielding high quality fruit of all varieties.
Joe Rasch Orchards extensively researches all aspects of the business. When planting the year’s crop, the current desires and trends of the market determine which varieties, and how many of each, will be grown.
By growing the products the customers want, Joe Rasch Orchards is able to consistently be one of Michigan’s top apple growers. Much of the staff travels the world—New York, Washington and overseas—to experience how other growers are doing things and make sure the orchard is on the cutting edge in every possible way. The commitment to learning and sharing knowledge is key to making sure that’s the case.
“Our trees are grown responsibly and sustainably,” says Joe. “We plant and grow the trees to get the best yield without compromising environmental quality.” The Joe Rasch Orchards team scouts the land to make sure they never spray when or where they don’t have to. Using integrated pest management (IPM), biological control and pheromones to keep pests away while at the same time promoting the presence of good insects, each variety of fruit grows to its fullest potential with the least possible amount of environmental impact.
One of the most important things in pest control is detecting and resolving issues before they become problems. If the Rasches can prevent bad insects from arriving in the first place, there’s no massive cleanup required later.
“We’re in it for the long run,” Joe says. “We’re driving to increase variety and have a multi-year plan to diversify our varieties.”
Foresight is very important in apple growing, and not just on the marketing side. Joe Rasch Orchards takes into account previous years’ crops and future crops when planting each season. IPM, biological controls and constant insect scouting sets Joe Rasch Orchards up for efficient, sustainable growth for the future.