Who: Don Gregory of Cherry Bay Orchards
What: Tart Cherries
Where: Traverse City and Leelanau County, Michigan
This summer I took a jaunt to the beautiful shores of northern Michigan with a pack of food writers and dietitians to see how cherries — tart cherries, to be precise — are grown, harvested, and sent to market. This was thrilling, to be perfectly frank, because if I could choose just one fruit to eat, cherries would be near the top of the list, and tart cherries are a particular passion as they are certainly my favorite fruit to bake with.
But why am I showing you this now? Isn't the cherry season long over? Well, that's the thing about tart cherries: did you know that 99% of them are actually frozen or preserved? They're too delicate to ship fresh. This means that it's actually tart cherry season all year round, at least in my house. Here's a peek into how and where they're grown, some of the challenges facing the industry, and why I have a bag of tart cherries in my freezer right now.