May 9, 2012
McDonald’s kicks off ‘From Michigan For Michigan’ initiative

By Kathy Gibbons
Editorial Director

Al Dietrich didn't get a lot of sleep last night.

The Conklin, Mich., grower had to be up and at his family's Dietrich Orchards' packing facility by 4:15 a.m. today in preparation for hosting McDonald's announcement of a new "From Michigan For Michigan" initiative to raise awareness of locally sourced food.
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder was on hand for the event, recognizing local suppliers and McDonald's for its contributions to the state's $91.4 billion food and agriculture system.

"You hear the word ‘Big Three', most people will name three auto companies," Snyder told the crowd of McDonald's franchisees and local and state officials, including Michigan Department of Agriculture Director Keith Creagh. "When I hear the words ‘Big Three', I think of another three that pop to mind to me. It's our three leading industries: manufacturing, tourism and agriculture."

Michigan is the second largest supplier of apples to McDonald's restaurants in the U.S., behind the state of Washington. Last year, McDonald's spent $237 million in Michigan on raw food ingredients.

"That's including eggs, pickles, blueberries, corn, beef and, most importantly, apples," said Diane Smith, interim executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee.

The company plans to purchase 21 million pounds of Michigan apples in 2012.

Dietrich said what McDonald's is doing with fresh produce is good for customers' health and exciting for growers like his family.

"It's healthy food," he said. "It's apples in the oatmeal, it's cherries in the oatmeal and it's cranberries. Now they've got this apple slice. And they also opened up this introductory thing for Cherry Berry Chiller (using Michigan cherries).

"This is great news."

Photo by T.J. Hamilton.


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