King Orchards Tart Cherry Juice

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Tart Cherry Harvest
The "tarts" are ready to harvest
It is that time of year again, and the cherries are ripe. Tart cherries generally bloom in May and are harvested in July.
 tart cherry trees

Montmorency is our primary variety, and is the only variety of tart cherry grown commercially to any extent in the U.S.

(right) This is one of our favorite photos and shows the exceptionally heavy crop in 1999. The branches of the trees are just loaded with Montmorencies. We grow over 100 acres, and that is a lot of cherries, so let's get to work!

The equipment

First, we will have a look at the equipment used for the cherry harvest. A variety of specialized equipment is kept available and maintained all year for the brief harvest period. The cherries are mechanically harvested from the trees using a piece of equipment called a shaker. The cherries are immediately immersed in cold water in tanks, and forklifts bring tankfuls of cherries out of the orchard to what is called the cooling pad. At the cooling pad the cherries are cooled for at least 4 hours with fresh water before being trucked to the processing plant.


 tart cherries
an exceptional crop
The cherries are brought out of the orchard in metal containers, called tanks. Here we can see the tanks cleaned and stacked upside down near the barn ready to be used.
stacked cherry tanks
Here we see the tanks a little closer. In the weeks leading up to the harvest, the tanks were cleaned up with electric grinders and given a fresh coat of a special abrasion and moisture resistant finish. The tanks will take a lot of wear and tear over the next few days.

Each tank has a rib around the perimeter for strength and guides on the bottom for the fork lift tines.

closer view
Tart Cherry Harvest Photo Album
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 tart cheries on the tree
King Orchards
4620 N. M-88
Central Lake MI 49622

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Copyright 2005
updated- January 29th, 2005

 Apple Journal
Tens of thousands of us suffer from chronic and often debilitating pain. Many strategies and products have emerged promising relief. Sorting through the claims and counter-claims is not easy.

We recommend that you become informed and excercise discretion when reading promises of miracle cures. The connection between diet and pain management has been solidly established, and research continues. As always, consulting closely with your physician is essential in any pain management program.

John, Betsy, Rose and Jim King

King Orchards • 4620 N. M-88 • Central Lake MI 49622 • 1-877-937-5464