Finally, local cherries and strawberries available

By: 
Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

With a cold, very wet spring, which has delayed fruit crops as well as field crop planting, much to the relief of local farm market owners and customers a “beautiful” strawberry crop is now available for sale, and the first of this year's sweet cherries should be available for harvest later this week. 

 

REGION – Just as there were no local strawberries available at this year's Father's Day Strawberry Social in Alden, there weren’t any northern Michigan cherries at this year's Cherry Festival, much to the chagrin of vacationers, residents, and area fruit producers.

But, thankfully, local growers reported a small, but “beautiful” crop of strawberries ready for the table by the Fourth of July, and the first sweet cherries should finally be ready this week.

A cold, wet spring is responsible for a delay in the cherry crop, according to Rob Shooks of Central Lake's Shooks Farms, who said the farm would be open for the first time this year for u-pick sweet cherry sales this weekend.

"We're opening with a "dollar day" u-pick sale on Saturday, when we will offer the first of our sweet cherries for sale for $1 a pound," Shooks said, adding that the local sweet cherry crop – while almost two weeks late in ripening – will be worth the wait.

"We have a good-sized crop of beautiful cherries," he said of the farm's 150 acres of sweet cherries, which are primarily consumed as table cherries. "They're all of good size, with no marks or flaws, and very sweet."

Barring any heavy rains, which could bloat and crack this year's crop of already very juicy fruit, the farm should have sweet cherries available for sale for several weeks – or at least until the farm's 150 acres of tart and Balaton cooking cherries are ready for harvest.

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