Cortez Apple Growers Turn Waste Into A Windfall
A $29,000 grant to Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project on June 29, 2022
Montezuma County’s heritage apple orchards produce millions of pounds of fruit each year, but nearly 128,000 pounds of fruit are wasted because they do not meet today’s precise retail standards, reducing not only profits for the farmers but also the viability of this important economic sector. A potential solution to this challenge arose from a recent study by the Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project (MORP): Unusable apples from more than 35 farms could be harvested and pressed into juice, resulting in as much as $140,000 in profit. To launch this project, MORP acquired a mobile juicer, facility, and other specialty equipment; the last hurdle to overcome was the cost of juice boxes, which has increased nearly 300 percent during the pandemic. LOR is funding the purchase 7,250 boxes to launch the program. Revenue from the sale of the juices will be used to purchase boxes in subsequent years.
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