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Tart Cherry Harvest
Harvesting Tart Cherries
Tart cherry harvest is an exciting time of year in northern Michigan. Tart cherries are an extremely perishable and delicate fruit, and they ripen on a very short time schedule. For the cherry grower, this means being prepared and moving quickly when the time comes. Equipment is repaired, spare parts are kept handy, and crews are assembled in preparation for the big event.
If you visit cherry country in late June and early July you will start to see the shakers and other equipment being moved from farm to farm and readied for harvest time. Don't get too impatient if you get stuck behind us on the highway, as it is often the only way to get the equipment to the trees. The time you lose driving behind farm equipment is more than made up by the resulting convenience of low prices and easy availability of food later. (You never know, you might get hungry someday!)
A fleet of trucks, shakers, tractors and other equipment, and a veritable small army of workers are needed to get the cherries off the trees. The whole process, from tree to processing, lasts only a few days. When the cherries are ready, they are ready and we have to get in gear fast!