The Michigan cherry season is only a few months away, so it’s a perfect time to learn about health benefits of these Michigan grown super fruits.
How Many Cherries Does Michigan Grow?
The U.S. tart cherry industry is estimated to produce approximately 276 million pounds of tart cherries annually. Michigan contributes about 208 million pounds of the total crop. This means Michigan is the number one state in the United States when it comes to tart cherries.
Our state grows over 65% of all of all of the tart cherries in the entire country. The area that grows these tiny red orbs is the Northwestern corner of the Lower Peninsula. This area of Michigan is commonly referred to as the Traverse Bay Farms area.
In addition, Traverse City has earned the nickname as “cherry capital of the world.” The reason for the nickname is the majority of the tart cherry orchards are located near Traverse City.
What are the Health Benefits of Tart Cherries?
Tart cherries offer a number of natural health benefits. Over the past decade a number of research universities have published ground-breaking work on this ruby-red super fruit.
Some of the health benefits includes cherries ability to fight joint pain due to gout and arthritis, help with sleep issues and even help soothe sore muscles due to physical exercise. Click Here to learn more about the health benefits of tart cherries.
When is Tart Cherry Season in Michigan?
The tart cherry harvest season is usually from Mid-July until Mid-august. This short six to eight week season is when the cherries are harvested from the trees and transported to the production. However, the cherries are more than simply harvest season.
For about two weeks in May the trees start to blossom with beautiful white and pink blossom. It’s during this time the orchards are a relaxing and peaceful place to be able enjoy a stroll. The combination of the cherry blossom season with the cherry harvest season this brings the entire cherry season to about an eight to ten week season.
What Makes Northern Michigan So Special for Growing Cherries?
While cherry trees can grow almost anywhere, they quality of the fruit produced and the quantity depends on the conditions of local climate. This is what makes the Traverse Bay Farms area of Michigan from unique. This is the surrounding lakes of the area helps to temper the artic winds during the winter and helps the cool the cherry orchards during the top summer months.
In addition, the combination of rolling hills and sandy soil also contribute to the highly product cherry orchards. The sandy soil allows the water to drain away from the trees while the rolling hills assists with keeping the wind moving.
How Many Cherries Does the Average Cherry Tree Grow?
When you’re picking cherries, you may ask yourself how many cherries does the average cherry tree grow? That’s a great question. The answer is approximately 7,000 cherries. This means you don’t have to worry about picking all of the cherries when you’re out picking your own cherries.
Also, another fun fact is it takes about 100 cherries to make a cherry pie. So the average cherry tree grows about 70 cherry pies.
What Types of Cherries are Best for U-Pick?
There are two types of cherries. These include sweet cherries and tart cherries. The sweet cherries also known as the black cherries are the most popular for U-pick. The reason is they are great for snacking and this is the type of cherry you’ll find in the produce section of your local grocery store or farmers market.
The other type is the tart cherries. These are bright red in color and mostly used for baking and in recipes. However, since they are very tart, hence the name tart cherry, the majority of people don’t eat them straight from the tree.
The best type of cherry for U-Pick usually are the sweet cherries.
Where to Find U-Pick Cherry Orchards in Michigan
Here are some great resources to learn more about U-pick or pick cherries directly from the trees
Traverse Bay Farms
7053 M-88 South, Bellaire MI 49615
Ed Dunneback & Girls Farm
3025 Six Mile Rd. NW, Grand Rapids, Mi 49544
Steffens Orchard and Market
4344 13 Mile Rd., Sparta, Mi 49345
The Fox Barn Market & Winery
500 South 18th Ave., Shelby, Mi 49455
16495 40th Ave., Coopersville, Mi 49404
0-9265 Kenowa Ave. SW, Grand Rapids, Mi 49534