Traverse City Cherries Running Late But Will Be Plentiful

Good news for cherry-lovers in northern Michigan; this year’s harvest is starting to look pretty good.

Although many local cherries will not be ready in time for the National Cherry Festival this year, the cherry crop in Grand Traverse County is getting back on track.

Farmers are hailing recent weather conditions for the fruit’s comeback.

“We’re one of the three growing districts in Michigan,” said Bern Kroupa, local cherry farmer in Grand Traverse County. “The cherry crop in northern Michigan would be termed moderate.”

That’s better news than not at all for Michigan’s cherry growers.

Bern Kroupa’s cherries are starting to appear on his trees by the bucket-load, something he, along with many other farmers, didn’t see happening a few months ago.

“No, that prolonged, extremely cold winter, even those of us who might say it was an ‘old-time’ winter, it was a little colder,” Kroupa said. “So it’s amazing that we didn’t have more problems.”

Cherry crops across the state are running a little behind this year.

According to Kroupa, while the weather is the easiest thing to blame, it can now be thanked.

“You know, actually, once the cherries were in the bloom, the weather was pretty cooperative,” Kroupa said.

The thousands of cherries that come out of the orchard fields up in the Old Mission Peninsula are relied on by the Traverse City community pretty heavily and that’s not just talking about one species of cherry.

“The sweet cherry crop is very large in northern Michigan, both the dark varieties for the fresh-freezing,” Kroupa said. “Also, the light sweet cherries which find their way to the maraschino market.”

But it’s a nice market to have.

Bottom line; the cherry crop is going to be late, but it’s going to be good.

“It’s a nice crop,” Kroupa said. “It will almost satisfy the market needs but it’s moderate. Not what was expected in early spring when all conditions appeared to be gold but the fruit simply did not set.”

Grand Traverse area farmers are expecting their cherries to be ready in around two weeks time for harvesting.