Spring Frost Damage Now Coming Into Focus as Cherries Mature

Cherries across northwest Michigan are beginning to take shape which means the frost damage is starting to come into focus. The early, warm spring doubled the potential for frost for most area growers. And now they're seeing the results. Researchers at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Station estimates the cherry harvest in this area to be between 30 to 50 percent of a full harvest. One farm we visited in Leelanau County says the frost damage is hit or miss. “We're noticing significant damage throughout most of our orchards and some of them vary site by site,” says Ben LaCross, partner of LaCross Farms in Cedar. The sites on higher elevation, in warmer air tend to fare better than those on lower elevation. But even a 30-percent crop is nothing to worry about for cherry lovers. Between the healthy cherries in this area, combined with the leftover cherries preserved from last season — there should be plenty for everyone. “Continue to eat a lot of cherries,” LaCross says. “Even with 30 percent of a crop, we are going to be able to supply everybody's cherry needs for the next year. I'm sure of that.” 9&10's Ryan Raiche and Photojournalist Justin DePrekel have the story.