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Self-Proclaimed Cherry Capital Needs Help This Year from Washington

July 3, 1996

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.″

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