Dec 20, 2022
Engelsma family claims 7th cider contest win

Engelsma’s Apple Barn of Walker, Michigan, won first place at the 24th annual Michigan Apple Cider Contest, marking their seventh first place win in the contest.

The competition was on Dec. 7 at DeVos Convention Center in Grand Rapids during the Great Lakes Fruit, Vegetable & Farm Market EXPO.

Jim and Becky Engelsma are owners of Engelsma’s Apple Barn, and their daughter Bridget is the cider maker.

“This cider contest was created to help promote the Michigan apple cider industry,” Bob Tritten, founder of the contest, said in a news release. “This year, we had 22 amazing participants from all over the state of Michigan.”

Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill, Armada, Michigan., owned by Pete and Paul Black, placed second. The third-place winner was from Farmer White’s Farm Market, Williamsburg, in Northwest Michigan.

“The annual cider contest is a great way for cider makers to connect and learn from one another,” Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee, said in the release. “Cider makers put in a lot of hard work to make their delicious cider, whether it be growing their own apples or changing up their recipe to make the best cider.”

The Michigan Apple Cider Contest began in 1996. Tritten created the contest to help improve cider making, promote the industry and educate the public. With his retirement from Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, this year marked Tritten’s final cider contest. Starting at the 2023 event, the contest will be directed by Derek Plotkowski, District Fruit Educator for MSUExtension.

The contest is sponsored by the Michigan Apple Committee, the Michigan State Horticultural Society and the Fruit Growers News.

— Michigan Apple Committee

Photo: Bob Tritten, from left, founder of the Michigan Apple Cider Contest, with Jim Engelsma, owner of first-place winner Engelsma’s Apple Barn, and Derek Plotkowski, Michigan State University Extension district fruit educator, who will head the contest following Tritten’s retirement. Photo: Kristen Kazarian

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