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Niles Apple Festival kicks off despite poor crop

NILES, Mich.— The Niles Apple Festival kicked off on Thursday despite one of the worst apple seasons in recent memory.

Festival directors had several obstacles to overcome to get their regular supply here and the crop they did get isn’t up to the usual standards.

It tastes like fall. Apple season is in full bloom and the Four Flags Apple Festival is ready to celebrate.

“This is our 40th anniversary so we’re making sure it’s an extra big show,” said festival representative, Pat Teeter.  

But “big” might be difficult to find when it comes to this year’s crop.  

“The apples were kind of bad, but we’re making do with what we have and what’s available to us,” said Chuck Craig, the Vice President of Administration. “A lot of the apples are still good apples, the outsides look a little rough but the inside of the apple tastes just as good.”

This year’s fruit is quite a bit smaller than usual due to the wacky weather last spring. But festival directors are just happy to have a crop at all.

“Our normal vendor didn’t have them, but we did find another vendor who usually supplies our apple cider that was able to supply us with apples,” said Teeter.  

But due to the shortage, the fruit came at price.  

“Some of the prices did go up a little bit, but we’re trying to take that on ourselves,” explained Craig.

The festival paid about $120 more this year for their usual 120 bushels, but customers won’t pay a dime more than last year.

“We’re all about helping the community and giving back to the community and that’s one way we think we can give back too,” said Craig

The festival has about 10 different local vendors who supply various apple products like baked goods and apple butter. None of those products jumped in price.

The festival lasts through the weekend. For a full listing of the activities, you can visit their website at Four Flags Apple Festival. 

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