The unassuming tart cherry has a very long history of offering an entire range of natural health advantages to anyone interested in enjoying a more active and healthy lifestyle. In fact the tart cherry has been around since the beginning of time and has traveled across the world. Over the centuries is has made its way Asia to Europe and finally brought to the New World by the first settlers in 1600’s. This tiny fruit has pleased the palates of people from all walks of life for centuries. Its ruby-red coloring is not only appealing to the eyes but also tart, yet sweet taste is a pleasure to taste buds. This double-barreled combination has won it a location on the tables of Roman conquerors, elite members of the Chinese ancient society as well as the ancient Greeks. If it could talk, it would tell amazing stories of romance, conquest and travel adventures throughout the ages. Upon its arrival in the New World, the cherry spread throughout the country. Over the centuries, it made its way from the east coast to the west coast. It ultimately planted roots among many of the states of the 45th parallel. The reason is the favorable weather patterns in these specific areas. Main cherry growing states include New york, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Michigan. In fact, Northwestern Lower Michigan region of Michigan known as the Traverse Bay Farms area grows over 70% of all of the tart cherries in the United States. In addition, Traverse City, the largest city in the region has earned the nickname “Cherry Capital of the World”. The reason for the nickname is many of the cherry farms and U-Pick cherry orchards are located within a short distance of this city. In addition, the very first cherry tree planted for commercial use as planted within only a few miles of Traverse City. The pioneer who is widely credited to create the entire tart cherry industry is Michigan is Mr. Dougherty. In 1852, Mr. Dougherty, a Presbyterian missionary planted the pioneering tart cherry tree on Old Mission Peninsula. After the first trees ended up successfully producing fruit many of this neighbors also started planting cherry crops. Thus, the cherry industry took root. After a few years, the first official industrial tart cherry orchards around Michigan were placed in 1893 on Ridgewood Farm with Old Mission Peninsula. In truth, this first farm was on the very spot of the site of Dougherty's original trees. By the first 1900s, the cherry industry was rapidly expanding across Old Mission Peninsula. However, since the peninsula is approximately 18 miles long and only a few miles wide in its widest spot land on the peninsula was at a premium. Thus, many new budding cherry farmers began starting cherry orchards in a number of towns and areas along Lake Michigan including Frankfort, Benton Harbor and Elk Rapids. The very first cherry processing plant was built just south of Traverse City and called the Traverse City Canning Company. This newly constructed facility allowed the recently harvested cherries to be processed and shipped to major cities all around America including Detroit, Chicago, and Milwaukee. One of the products produced from the freshly harvest tart cherries as tart cherry juice concentrate. The cherry juice concentrate is an excellent way to get the natural health benefit s of this Michigan grown-fruit throughout the entire year.
- Posted by Ada Manson