Famed for its stunning landscapes and fertile farmlands, Northern Michigan is a prime destination for fresh, flavorful fruits, with the cherry being its crown jewel.
The region boasts a rich tapestry of cherry farms, from the bustling orchards of Traverse City to the picturesque Leelanau Peninsula and the charming Antrim County.
This guide will take you through some of the top locations where you can find the most succulent cherries in Northern Michigan. Also, feel free to stop by our Bellaire or Elk Rapids store for cherry juice, cherry capsules and more, while you're out enjoying the Michigan harvest.
Traverse City: The Epicenter of Cherry Excellence
Hosting the annual National Cherry Festival, Traverse City proudly wears the mantle of the Cherry Capital of the World. The area is renowned for its high-quality cherries, a result of its nutrient-rich soil and favorable climate. Here are key spots in Traverse City to find the freshest cherries:
Friske Orchards: More than just a U-Pick cherry farm, Friske Orchards also houses a farm market filled with a multitude of homemade cherry delights. Their sweet and tart cherries are a crowd favorite and contribute to their respected reputation.
Jacobs Farm: While Jacobs Farm is a trove for various fruits, their vast cherry orchards are undoubtedly a major draw. Spanning over 1000 acres, it provides ample space for a fulfilling day of cherry picking.
Rennie Orchards: A family-friendly destination that has been serving Traverse City for generations, Rennie Orchards offers an intimate U-Pick experience. With rows of lush cherry trees, visitors can enjoy picking both sweet and tart cherries while immersing themselves in the serene beauty of the farm.
Leelanau Peninsula: Fruitfulness meets Scenery
The Leelanau Peninsula, located just north of Traverse City, has a unique microclimate that makes it ideal for growing cherries. Its enchanting landscape is adorned with cherry orchards that elevate its natural beauty.
Good Harbor Vineyards and Winery: While primarily recognized for its wine, Good Harbor also hosts cherry orchards. During the cherry season, their farm market is stocked with freshly picked cherries.
Leelanau Fruit Company: Owning several orchards across the peninsula, this company is a leading source of tart cherries, extensively used in jams, pies, and preserves.
Antrim County: Cherries in the Charm
Along the famed "Fruit Belt" or US 31, Antrim County holds its own as a fruitful region of Northern Michigan, brimming with cherry farms and roadside stands.
Royal Farms: Situated in Ellsworth, Royal Farms operates both a farm and a roadside market, offering fresh-picked cherries, delectable baked goods, and an array of cherry products.
Friske’s Farm Market: This quaint farm market in Atwood, Antrim County, presents a variety of cherry options, both sweet and tart, catering to all cherry preferences.
In conclusion, from Traverse City to Leelanau Peninsula and Antrim County, Northern Michigan offers a wealth of places to relish the freshest cherries. Whether you prefer a hands-on cherry-picking experience or the convenience of a farm market, this region has something for every cherry lover. Remember, the cherry season typically begins in mid July and lasts until early-August, so be sure to plan your trip accordingly to enjoy the freshest picks.