The cherry crop is coming along beautifully. We received 8/10 s of an inch of rain last night which was very much appreciated. So cherries are sizing up.
The sweet cherries are probably going to start around July 10-12. We will pick as early as we feel they are sweet enough and dark enough color. Usually we start picking at the H&H farm which is in Grand Traverse County. We do not have u-pick there so that means we will have sweet cherries in the market for several days before the u-pick is ready at the two u-pick orchards which are further North. The Sweet trees behind the market on US 31 appear to have a very nice crop and the trees are getting large enough that we should have a high quality u-pick experience available there. Here at the M88 orchard the sweets really look good too. If you haven’t tried pick your own sweets I strongly recommend it. You can pick a little or a lot, kids are welcome, and the fruit off the tree is usually the finest available, anywhere.
The tarts will probably start a week after the sweets around July 18-19. We will have u-pick tarts available at both farm markets. However, we only have pitting available at the M88 location. U-picking tarts can be a great value. We charge a modest flat rate to run your cherries through the pitter ($5.00 as I remember) but for volume pickers the pitting is free, and you get them washed, pitted and bagged ready to freeze. Bring a cooler, the family, and load up.
As the season draws near we will evaluate crop size, quality, and value to come up with a price and I will put it on the blog as soon as I have it. We will be priced aggressively to win back our old customers after last year’s terrible crop, and to encourage new customers to give us a try.
We will be shipping fresh Black Sweet cherries and Balaton Tart cherries. We are happy to ship cherries but there are a couple of details that the customer needs to be aware of. We have 2-3 box sizes. Our favorite way to ship is in a styrofoam cooler/shipping box that holds 10 lbs. The price on shipped cherries will be more than u-pick or lug sales because we will select cherries with uniform, larger, premium quality fruit, and the box cost us $8.50 but it won’t get squashed when piled in a delivery truck. Betsy is working on some other Postal Service Flat Rate Box options. This might work for Midwest (near us) locations but it will be too slow for Florida and far West. When shipping goes beyond 2 days we are reluctant to take the risk that the cherries will still be high quality, worth all of the expense. We do not ship to California because they require USDA inspection, which is ok except that we would have to pay for the inspector to drive from Grand Rapids and back for each lot that we had inspected and we don’t have that much demand from California.
The Montmorency tart cherries are too soft and perishable to ship fresh. They oxidize and turn brown overnight if not kept cold or packed with sugar so the only way we ship Monts is pitted and individually quick frozen(IQF) in a styrofoam shipper, overnight air. We ship Montmorency tart cherries from November to August to ensure that they stay in the highest quality.
It is fathers day and I have worked up an appetite for some of Rose’s cherry pie.