JULY 14, 2022 UPDATE
Here’s the lastest tart cherry crop update from Dr. Nikki Rothwell at the Michigan State University Extension Center:
Sweet cherry harvest is underway throughout northwest Michigan. Tarts are ripening fast, so some growers have also begun tart cherry harvest.
The weather has been cooler than normal with some occasional rainfall that has not accumulated very much to the rainfall totals for the season. Conditions have also been cloudy as well as cool for yesterday and today (July 12 and 13). Thursday is predicted to be sunny and dry. Temperatures will warm over the weekend, and there is a chance of thunderstorms late on Friday into Saturday. Next week is also predicted to warm and more like normal mid-July temperatures. Daytime highs are forecasted to be in the 80s next week. The medium range guidance is calling for warmer than normal temperatures with below normal precipitation totals.
We have accumulated 1,644 growing degree days (GDD) base 42 and 1,029 GDD base 50. Our 30-plus-year GDD averages are 1630.8 GDD base 42 and 999.6 GDD base 50.
Sweet cherry harvest is in full swing in northwest Michigan. Growers are shaking light and dark sweets in all five counties. With the spotty rainfall, we have seen minimal cracking in sweet cherry. Growers are trying to get sweets off as fast as possible to minimize cracks and the potential brown rot that can move into cracked or bird damaged fruit. Bird damage is high in our high density sweet cherry blocks at the station.
Tart cherries are ripening surprisingly fast this season, and some growers are starting to harvest tarts, especially young blocks where the crop is light. We conducted some pull force measurements on tart cherries, and they are pulling between 200-400 g. The tart cherries are ripening faster than our Benton sweet cherries at the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center.
Apple size is increasing. There is a bit of blush showing up on some of the green fruit here at the station. Honeycrisp are 43 mm in size, and Gala are 39.5 mm. We have heard a few reports of apples being more typey than usual this season.
JUNE 24, 2022 UPDATE
Now that the summer solstice has come and gone, that can only mean one thing: The 2022 tart cherry harvest is right around the corner! So we checked in with Dr. Nikki Rothwell, MSU Extension Specialist and Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center Coordinator, to find out how things are looking for the timing and quality of this year’s crop.
“The tart cherry crop is looking really good this year,” Dr. Rothwell shared with us. “We have lots of fruit to harvest, and growers will be busy through July. Fruit is already starting to color up!”
For Dr. Rothwell’s full report, visit the MSU Extension website.
Coming Soon! Montmorency Nouveau Preserves
With the 2022 tart cherry crop harvest only a few weeks away, that means Cherry Republic is gearing up to make its annual batch of Montmorency Nouveau Preserves. Each year, we harvest the very first crop of Montmorency tart cherries in mid to late July, rush them to our Cherry Factory in Empire, MI, and deliver still-warm jars of preserves to our stores in Glen Arbor, Traverse City, and Charlevoix within 24 hours! Then we make a run to our retail locations in Ann Arbor, Frankenmuth, and Holland, to ensure that our downstate friends get to enjoy this once-a-year event, too!
It’s a Herculean feat, to be sure, but so worth it when we see our customers jockeying for position just to secure their own little taste of heaven in a 17-ounce jar.