Michigan Cherry History • Peter Dougherty, a Presbyterian missionary, is credited with planting the first cherry orchard and founding the cherry industry as a commercial enterprise in the Midwest. • Against the advice of local Indians who had grown other fruits in the area, Dougherty planted a cherry orchard in 1852 on the Old Mission Peninsula, a narrow strip of land that juts into Grand Traverse Bay near Traverse City, Michigan. • Today issues are about farm preservation against sprawl
Cherry Growing conditions Which crops like which soils? Clay-wheat, timothy, bluegrass Silt loam-corn, apple Loam-red clover, alfalfa, field beans Sandy soils-potato, field peas, turnip, barley, rye, peach, cherry Calcareous- white clover Muck soils- celery, cabbage, lettuce, onions • Winter hardiness similar to apples • Trees flower early in spring and highly susceptible to spring frost damage Cherry type soils • Sweet • Eastern U.S. - Sandy soil, hilly terrain for frost protection, preferred growing on east side of large body of water. • Western U.S. - Rich, volcanic soil, hot days, cold nights, preferred growing in shadow of mountain ranges. • Tart • Sandy soil, hilly terrain for frost protection, • preferred growing on east side of large body of water.
Kinds of CherriesMichigan's cherries are predominantly the tart varieties. Two kinds of cherries • Sweet (larger and often darker, as Bing) • eaten raw by the handful • grown mostly in California and the Pacific Northwest • tart "sour," cherries, (the smaller Montmorency and Morello), • canned, frozen, juiced and made into jams, jellies and pastry and pie fillings.
Sweet CherriesPrunus avium • Most of Michigan's sweet cherries are turned into maraschino cherries. Maraschino, by the way, comes from the Italian word for a pungent liqueur - distilled in Croatia and Italy from a bitter Dalmationa wild cherry called the "marasca" - in which cultivated cherries were once steeped until appropriately fortified. Today, commercial maraschinos owe their fiery glow to food coloring. • The majority of Michigan's sweet cherry crop is processed. The main product made with sweets is maraschino cherries.
Sweet cherry crop 2002 The Pacific states are the primary producers of sweet cherries but Michigan still ranks in the top four, producing about 20 percent of the annual crop. • Sweet cherries are failing, with the state projected to produce 4 million pounds vs. an average of 50 million pounds. • Sweet cherries were hard hit by April's Arctic winds, May freezes and later heat during pollination, which denuded fruit statewide.
Tartsour cherry =pie cherry = tart cherry = red cherry • Sour cherries don't transport well, so they're difficult to find fresh. They generally are canned or frozen shortly after harvesting. Canned sour cherries, though, are almost as good. • The main variety of tart cherries is called the Montmorency. It has been in the U.S. for more than a century because it is best for pies, preserves, jellies, juice and other products. Prunus cerasus
Average tree has 7,000 tart cherries About twenty-eight pies worth
Tart acreage Northwest Michigan - the nation's No. 1 tart cherry region • There are 36,000 acres of tart cherry trees in Michigan; about 55,000 acres nationwide • The Grand Traverse Region produces over 50 percent of Michigan's annual tart cherry crop, or about 100 to 120 million pounds.
June 2002"At this point in the season, you'd expect to see a red hue to the orchard, and all you see is green." • The region's 320-some tart cherry farms are facing the worst year in the industry's recorded history.
2002 Crop • Michigan expects to harvest a tart cherry crop of less than 15 million pounds, down 95 percent from last year. Spring frosts with prolonged temperatures below freezing greatly damaged the crop. • That compares to 183 million pounds last year. • This year's is the smallest cherry crop since the Michigan Department of Agriculture began keeping records in 1925.
Economic impact • Some 120 million pounds of stored cherries, many from last year's overabundant crop, will be released to the market, providing some income to growers and processors. • Last year, growers were paid about 20 cents per pound. They pay processors about 9 cents per pound annually for surplus storage.
Economic impact • Farmers still must pay this year for orchard upkeep. • The average 100-acre farm pays about $30,000 per year for pesticides and fertilizers, $7,500 to replant old growth, and carries about $150,000 in farm equipment debt.
Economic Impact$30 million loss • Labor crews aren't going to be hired. They're not going to be buying equipment. They're not going to be buying supplies. All the labor that's used to harvest crops, they're not going to buy groceries.
The nation annually consumes about 200 million pounds of tart cherries.
Utah, the nation's second leading tart cherry producer, also is facing crop failure.
Climate is very important which is why Michigan orchards are located primarily along the Lake Michigan shoreline. Lake Michigan tempers the Arctic winds in winter and cools the orchards in summer.
Climate • Bodies of water such as lakes are quite helpful in modifying temperatures and reducing crop damage, especially when located on the north and northwest sides of orchards. • The Great Lakes are well known for their beneficial effects on protecting fruits grown along the southwest coastal area of Michigan.
Processing • Both tart cherries and sweet cherries ripen in July, and peak harvest time is usually the third week of July. Most tart cherries are mechanically harvested, using a shaker to drop the fruit onto canvasses where they are placed in tanks of water. • Sweet cherries that are to be marketed fresh are picked by hand.
Medical claims • Michigan State University has found cherries to be an excellent source of compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. • They have been shown to help prevent • cancer cardiovascular disease • Alleged to reduce the pain associated with arthritis and gout • antioxidants may slow the aging process. • Tart cherries also contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds, which laboratory tests indicate are at least ten times more active than aspirin. Further, tart cherry components are suspected to have the ability to inhibit the enzymes that ultimately cause joint pain.
Cherry festival • Cherry season is celebrated in Michigan with the well-known Traverse City Cherry Festival, held every July and attended by some 500,000 visitors over eight days.
Michigan applesthe # 1 fruitWinter hardy to -40°F. • Michigan produced about 1.4 billion pounds of fruit in 2000 including apples, tart cherries, sweet cherries, peaches, blueberries, grapes, strawberries, pears and plums. • More than 60 percent of that amount was apples, which totaled 850 million pounds. • Apple volume alone equals more than the volume of all the other fruits combined.