Self-Proclaimed Cherry Capital Needs Help This Year from Washington
TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) _ Green fruit has made for red faces in this self-proclaimed cherry capital.
The National Cherry Festival, starting this weekend, will feature cherries shipped from Washington state because Michigan’s are still hanging on the trees.
A long winter and a late, chilly spring have delayed the harvest in the northwest Lower Peninsula, which produces 90 percent of Michigan’s sweet cherries and half of its tart varieties.
``They’re nowhere near ready,″ said Judy LaCross, a cherry farmer from Cedar on the Leelanau Peninsula. ``They’re very green.″
``It’s beyond our control,″ festival executive director Tom Kern said.
Up to 500,000 people are expected at the weeklong event that starts Saturday.
Judy Amon, who runs a pick-your-own operation near Traverse City, said her sweet cherries have just begun turning pinkish red, while the tart cherries are ``like green marbles.″
``People can still wander around munching on cherries,″ she said. ``But this year they’ll be munching Washington state instead of Michigan cherries.″