West Michigan is home to one of the most economically beneficial agricultural landscapes in the state.
The region has gained its agricultural notoriety, in part, because of what is commonly known as the Fruit Ridge. It spans through portions of Kent, Newaygo, Muskegon and Ottawa counties that have desirable land for growing fruits including raspberries, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, grapes and apples.
According to Gordon Moeller, the secretary and treasurer for Ridge Economic Agricultural Partners (REAP), the Fruit Ridge is made up of ridges of sand and gravel left by the last ice age, which he said is perfect for growing apples because apples like well-drained soil and the ridges allow the cold air to settle in the valleys, protecting the apple blossoms from freezes.
Moeller said REAP was created in 2004 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit by MSU Extension after devastating straight-line winds destroyed 100,000 apple trees on the Fruit…