In Season: Cherries, Michigan’s Power Fruit

Cherry Festival is over, but the cherry season has just begun. Local cherries are the gems of the northern Michigan summer. Each year we anxiously await the arrival of the ruby fruit that brings visitors to the area, and keeps many of our businesses running.

Whether you like sweet cherries by the pound, tart cherries for your pies, dried cherries for snacking, cherry wine or cherry products, you can find it in the Cherry Capitol of the world… Traverse City.

Cherry Fun Facts

  • Michigan grows 75 percent of the US crop of tart cherries, and about 20 percent of sweet cherries
  • Northern Michigan is responsible for 90 percent of the state’s sweet cherry production
  • There are close to 7000 cherries on the average tart cherry tree, enough for 28 pies
  • The World Record for spitting a cherry pit is now 100 feet 4 inches, held by “young gun” Krauss, son of 10 time record holder “pellet gun” Krause
  • It takes 100 cherries to produce an 8 oz. glass of cherry juice
  • Ease arthritis pain and inflammation naturally with cherry juice, thanks to the anthocyanins, which give tart cherries their color
  • Michigan cherry wine is made primarily from Montmorency cherries
  • Peninsula Cellars is the only area winery to produce a white cherry wine, made from the Emperor Francis cherry

U-Pick Farms & Farm Stands

Some of my favorite childhood memories are from roaming the U-Pick farms. We’d lug around our galvanized buckets and climb the rickety old wooden ladders to carefully select the largest, juiciest, ripest cherries. When the buckets were full, or too heavy to carry, we’d know it was time to go home. It took a long swim in the lake to get rid of the purple stained fingers, but it was worth the memories.

For a list of local U-Pick farms, check out

Buy Traverse City Cherries

If you’re looking to pick up some fresh cherries on your visit up north there are plenty of options. A drive along the Old Mission or Leelanau Peninsula will offer several roadside opportunities to buy direct from the grower. And you can’t beat the scenic views along the way. Eating fresh washed cherries from a roadside stand always makes my Summer To-Do List.

For those of you who prefer your cherry products without the pits, Benjamin Twiggs in Traverse City has everything you could ever need. From cherry-themed merchandise, to cherry products of all kinds, you’ll find all your cherry dreams come true at Benjamin Twiggs, the oldest cherry purveyor in Traverse City. And they’ll even ship if you’re craving a taste of Michigan from far away.

Tips and Tricks

  • Cherries with the stems attached will stay fresh longer
  • To remove cherry stains from fingers and clothing try a little lemon juice, and rinse with water
  • For an inexpensive cherry pit remover try placing a metal pastry tip on your finger and pushing them out. A bobby pin or a bent paper clip can be used to scoop out the pit and only leaves one hole.
By |2018-09-12T13:20:14+00:00July 18th, 2014|Foodie|1 Comment

Celebrate February, National Cherry Month

tart cherries photoThe Cherry Capital is the Perfect Place to Celebrate National Cherry Month

Traverse City is home of the Cherry Festival, and known as the Cherry Capital of the world. So what better place to celebrate National Cherry Month than right here in Northern Michigan.

The Cherry Stop has christened it Febru-Cherry and they’re throwing a discount party all month long to celebrate. All month long their entire store is 15% off (some exclusions apply). There is no better time to stop in and pick up some of nature’s wonder fruit.


If you thought the only way to enjoy cherries was fresh or dried, here are a few of my favorite local products that show the versatility of this healthy fruit:

Chateau Fontaine Cherry wine – According to winemaker Dan Matthias it tastes like "cherry pie in a bottle," I tend to agree

The Cherry Stop Cherry Salsa – Available in Hot, Medium or Mild to suit your tastes

BoomChuggaLugga Cherry Soda – Cherry Republic’s original cherry soda with 8% cherry juice

Hip Bones Cherry Dog Treats – Great treats for older dogs, helps maintain healthy hips and joints and it’s made with all natural ingredients

Cerise Nutraceuticals Cherry Lotion – From the originator of Plevalean, Ray Pleva. Shown to clinically benefit arthritic patients. I like it because it’s not greasy and absorbs fast


If you’re interested in learning more about cherry products, and Traverse City’s role in world cherry production check out our previous post on the subject: Michigan Cherries, a Little Fruit with a Lot of Power.

By |2009-02-03T11:54:26+00:00February 3rd, 2009|Check This Out, Traverse City|0 Comments