Where are Tart Cherries Grown?

Did you know that Michigan is the number state in the United States when it comes to tart cherries? That’s right, over 70% of all of the Montmorency tart cherries are grown in the Northwestern corner of the lower peninsula of Michigan.

Traverse Bay Farms region of MichiganThis section of Michigan is commonly referred to as the “Traverse Bay Farms region”. In addition, it also carries the nickname of the “Cherry Capital of the World”.

The reason for the first nickname is this region of Michigan is located on 45th parallel north. This is halfway between the North Pole and the Equator.

The 45th crosses North America, Europe and Asia and you’ll find some of the best grown fruit along the 45th. The reason it is not to hot or not cold for fruit and vegetable production.

In addition, the sandy soil of the region helps to make it the epic center for tart cherry farming. The soil itself is also the secret behind the explosive growth to farmers in the region. The sandy soil is perfect to drain away water from rotting the roots. Finally, this region of Michigan receives over six feet of snow annually. What many people may be unaware is that snow is actually an insulator. The deep snows helps to keep the trees warm during the winter and helps to prevent the ground from a deep freeze.

Rightly so, the northwestern part of Michigan grows annually 200+ million tons of cherries and touts some of the most beautiful shoreline and fields in the entire state. Check out this video of tart cherry orchards from a seat of a low flying airplane. In the video, you’ll see some of the tart cherry orchards that actually some of fruit the region is world famous.

The Cherry Harvest Day – National Cherry Festival

As the countless blossoms appear on the trees, the pedals will soon drop and the beautiful, colorful blossom will be soon replaced with a ruby-red tart cherry. This magic of nature usually occurs for about week during the middle of May. After the cherries start to appear, they start to slowing turn a deeper and deeper red until they are ready for harvest. The cherry harvest in Northern Michigan usually begins the second week of July.

However, just before the official cherry the Traverse Bay Farms region celebrates the “National Cherry Festival“. During this two week period countless locals, tourists and vacationers enjoy all things cherry and more.

Attendees enjoy cherry pit spitting contests, sand sculptures, cherry pie eating contests and more. In addition, the Navy Blue Angels appear at the Cherry Festival every few years.

Check out his video of the Blue Angels at the Traverse City Cherry Festival

As you can see, the entire region is all about the cherry during the annual cherry harvest.