Cherry harvest beginning this week in Leelanau

Ya big lugs by Andy McFarlaneThe Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that although the National Cherry Festival is underway, most cherry growers are about a week behind due to cooler than normal temps:

The sweet cherry harvest in Leelanau County should start by the end of this week, said Al Steimel, general manager of Leelanau Fruit along M-22 near Suttons Bay.

“It’s not quite ready yet,” Steimel said last week.

It’s shaping up as a so-so season for area cherry growers. The projected tart cherry crop for northwest Michigan totals 75 million pounds, down more than 40 percent from last year’s robust harvest and expected to be the lowest yield in six years. The statewide crop is forecast at 135 million pounds, down 30 percent from last year.

The smaller sweet cherry crop fared better, estimated at 25,000 tons statewide, down about 8 percent from last year.

Photo credit: Ya big lugs by Andy McFarlane