It’s all things cherry in Traverse City for the National Cherry Festival, and farmers are already busy harvesting.
One of the first things you will see at the Open Space is Edmondson Orchards’ fresh cherry stand.
They are the only farm selling fresh cherries at the National Cherry Festival, something they’ve been doing for 15 years.
“Having local cherries, of course, at the Cherry Festival is one of the highlights,” says Kat Paye, executive director of the festival.
Growing, harvesting and packaging fresh cherries is what Edmondson Orchards does best on Old Mission Peninsula.
“We’ve always had nice cherries, but they’re exceptional this year because a lot of farmers will say, oh, we got a limb-buster. That means the tree is overloaded. Right now, we have a very nice balance crop. That’s why they’re sizing nice and evenly, coloring nice and evenly” says Harold Edmondson, owner and operator.
But some recent years haven’t been as sweet for local cherry farmers.
“We’ve lost the crop twice to frost. Last year, we went about a week into the harvest and then lost the crop because of Mother Nature and two inches of rain. All the cherries more or less blew up,” says Edmondson.
But this year’s harvest looks promising and just in time for the National Cherry Festival.
“The interaction with the people, it’s just amazing. They’re so interested in agriculture and what goes on at the farm and Lots of interesting questions with the fruit. It’s always fun and we have a lot of fun,” says Tana Wilsey, manager of the Edmondson Orchards cherry booth.
Edmondson farm also offers a U-pick option for locals and visitors alike.
“I love getting up in the morning and walking through the orchards which I do every single morning just to check on not only the trees, but any other conditions that might harm the cherry picking experience.” “Our goal is to make that cherry picking experience top notch and high quality,” says Joanne Westphal, manager of the cherry connection on Edmondson Orchards.
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