cherrys

Growing Saskatoon berries in northern Michigan is becoming more challenging thanks to an invasive species called spotted wing drosophila.
Rick Cross

Berry harvest is underway in northern Michigan, and this season’s crop forecasts are rosy. But getting those crops harvested is requiring heavier use of insecticides because of an invasive pest that’s on the rise. The situation is taking a toll on the region’s farms and orchards.


Aaron Selbig

The tart cherry harvest has begun in Michigan. Millions of pounds have already been harvested in central and southwest Michigan.

The Cherry Industry Administrative Board estimates the harvest will go up to 254 million pounds this year from 197 million pounds last year. That would be a 22 percent increase.

Fruit growers cut their losses after hail storm

Jul 12, 2016
Nikki Rothwell

Last Friday’s hail storm left some fruit growers with severely damaged trees. Apples and cherries took a beating in parts of Leelanau and Antrim counties.

Nikki Rothwell, coordinator at Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center, visited orchards on Monday to assess the damage.

"The hail damage really made a lot of marks on the apples," Rothwell says. "So there’s a lot of bruising, but then I do see some areas where the flesh is actually torn."

A legal dispute between an Elk Rapids food processor and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is headed back to court. Burnette Foods filed the lawsuit in 2012, claiming an administrative board that controls the cherry industry is antiquated.

Owner Bill Sherman says the cherry board has had a negative effect on his business.

“We have huge amounts of imports coming into the U.S. of tart cherry products and at the same time, we are not allowed to sell our products under the threat of severe financial penalties," says Sherman.