After a slow start to the growing season, cherry farmers are gearing up for the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City starting June 30. Cherries are some of the first crops to bloom in Michigan, and officials say early spring weather can significantly impact their growth.
Nikki Rothwell is the coordinator of the Northwest Michigan Horticulture Research Center. She says a cold spring put pressure on the cherry crop. “It was really cold, cold, cold, and we had those really kind of weird snowstorms in April, so we were really far behind," says Rothwell. Rothwell says the recent warm temperatures have put growers back on track. “That really caught us up in terms of growing, so we’re really right on par with the heat accumulations that we’ve seen in the past, so I think we’re poised to have really great cherries for the Cherry Festival," says Rothwell. She says disease has put less pressure on cherries than in years past.