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Michigan tart cherry harvest exceeds expectations

Over 128 million pounds of tart cherries have been harvested this year in Michigan–That’s about 20 million pounds more than what was originally expected.

Nikki Rothwell, a fruit specialist with the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center, says the successful harvest came as a surprise to the station.

“Usually we do a pretty good job estimating. Growers know their trees pretty well, but I think there was just more fruit there than we thought,” she said.

She says the quality of the fruit has also been better than expected this year despite the lack of rain.

“I thought the fruit was going to be small because of the lack of rain, but I think we had some really well-timed rain so the fruit is nice and plump…The quality of the fruit has been really excellent,” Rothwell said.

Because of the dryer weather conditions, Rockwell said farmers saw fewer disease and insect-related issues this year, as they tend to thrive more in wet and humid conditions.

Renae is a newsroom intern covering northwest Lower Michigan for WCMU.