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February is National Cherry Month!

Michigan Cherries by jdurchen

Did you know that Michigan is the largest producer of Montmorency tart cherries, growing 70-75% of the crop? February is National Cherry Month, and the Cherry Marketing Institute (link below) has bushels of info about the history and present state of the cherry industry including growing research showing that antioxidants in tart cherries may relieve the pain of arthritis and gout & help fight cancer and heart disease.

Cherry Facts

  • Tart cherries are loaded with antioxidants that are believed to relieve the pain of arthritis and gout and help fight cancer and heart disease. They’re also especially high in the antioxidant melatonin, which may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration associated with aging. And to top it off, they’re high in vitamin A and beta-carotene.
  • Cherries were brought to America by early settlers in the 1600s. Cherry trees, in fact, were part of the gardens of French settlers when they established Detroit.
  • Peter Dougherty, a Presbyterian missionary on Old Mission Peninsula north of Traverse City, started modern-day cherry production in Michigan in 1852. Now, Michigan grows about 75 percent of the nation’s tart cherries and Traverse City calls itself the cherry capital of the world.
  • It takes about 250 cherries to make a cherry pie; enough cherries grow on the average cherry tree to make 28 pies, industry officials say.
  • Tart cherries ripen two or three weeks after sweet cherries. Look for them in mid to late July.
  • Cherries are a truly ancient delicacy – explorers have found cherry pits from the Stone Age in European caves.
  • Tart cherries have fewer calories and more beta-carotene than sweet cherries.
  • Michigan grows 75 percent of the nation’s tart cherries.

For more tasty cherry info, be sure to check these out!

Cherry Marketing Institute is the best place to go for information about this delicious and healthy fruit!

Absolute Michigan’s Cherry Links has all kinds of info about the cherry!

Michigan Cherries from Taste the Local Difference is PACKED with all kinds of information and delicious cherry recipes.

Michigan Cherries from the Department of Agriculture

MSU’s Michigan Cherry Information features more cherry information than you can shake a whole tree at!

For all things edible, drinkable and wearable, check out Cherry Republic in Glen Arbor. They are one of the featured supporters of The Daily Michigan and are giving away 5# of cherries today!

The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City is a celebration of cherries and the cherry industry held every year at the beginning of July.

Video & Photos

Definitely check out the Cherry slideshow from the Absolute Michigan photo group on Flickr. On the video front, we hope you will enjoy ‘Cherry Cherry’ (circa 1967) by Neil Diamond and also this video of the harvest at an organic cherry farm in Northern Michigan!