Cherry Farmer Finds Sweet New Ways to Turn Profit
ACME, Mich. (AP) _ Cherry farmer Dave Amon found making a profit wasn’t as easy as pie, so he came up with a few innovative ways to make the cherry pay despite crop gluts and falling prices.
Visitors to his farm can buy cherry mustard, cherry barbecue sauce, cherry hot pepper jelly, cherry dressing and cherry dessert sauce.
Amon has managed to transform his 400-acre farm in the northwest region of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula into a tourist attraction, enticing an estimated 65,000 visitors a year to take home some of his cherry-based products.
″Each year I have to put my visitor’s hat on and think about what would turn me on,″ Amon said.
In his fields, you can pick your own cherries, take a tour on his ″fruitmobile,″ buy pumpkins in the fall and Christmas trees in December. In the winter, you can even ski his groomed trails.
″We are in the cherry capital of the world and it wasn’t too long ago when all you could get was a piece of cherry pie or maybe a cherry decoration on your meal,″ said Keith Charters, owner of the Music House Museum and chairman of the area’s convention bureau board.
Michigan is the country’s No. 1 producer of tart cherries and fourth leading grower of sweet cherries.