Area growers expecting a good cherry crop

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Courtesy photo

After warm weather in May, which meant a short bloom that may affect tart cherries, cherry producers like the Shooks family of Central Lake are expecting a good crop this year despite the late winter of 2017/2018, an assessment shared by most fruit growers across northwestern lower Michigan, according to MSU District Horticulturist Nikki Rothwell. 


CENTRAL LAKE – Despite the late winter, Central Lake fruit producer Greg Shooks said this week that he and his family are expecting a good sweet and tart cherry crop, an assessment MSU Extension Horticulturist Nikki Rothwell said she believed was true of all of this year's crop across northwestern lower Michigan.

Of his family's 120 acres of tart cherries and 140 acres of sweet cherries on their property north of Central Lake, the grower said, "Our tart crop will probably be down a little from last year, and it's a little early to tell with the sweets, as the trees still need to go through the ‘June drop,’ when the unpollinated cherries fall from the trees, but, overall we're in good shape, with a healthy crop in good condition."

Regarding the farm's tart cherries, of which Shooks Farms has several different varieties that are harvested at various times throughout the summer, Shooks said he wasn't sure why the tart cherry crop would be down by as much as 25 percent this year.

However, he suspected that recent warm weather, not the late winter that dragged on until the first part of May, may have been responsible for a short bloom of cherry blossoms that may have affected fruit set.

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