Michigan is farm country. From potatoes and cherries, to corn and apples, the state produces an abundance of produce enjoyed both locally and well beyond the region.
Northern Michigan and the Traverse City area in particular have long been known for cherries. Eaten whole or processed into jams, jellies, and other treats, cherries help deliver some of the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants among fruits, as well as providing important levels of other nutrients like vitamin C.
According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture, Michigan produces 75 percent of the nation’s tart cherry supply, as well as 20 percent of the sweet cherry harvest. The state also produces the largest harvest of Montmorency tart cherries, sometimes referred to as a “super fruit.” In 2016, the two varieties accounted for more than $72 million in agricultural revenue.
Some of the tastiest cherry treats come courtesy of Cherry Republic, the Glen Arbor-based producer of quality jams, jellies, salsas and more. Stop by Grandpa Shorter’s and check out a wide range of Cherry Republic products, including Hot Cherry Salsa, Cherry Pepper Jelly, and Cherry Almond Butter. Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries and Cherry Sour Balls are great choices for snacking on the go.
In addition to cherries, Northern Michigan is also home to an abundance of grapes, many of which are used in winemaking.
Several varieties of grapes proliferate in Northern Michigan, including traditional European strains such as Riesling and Chardonnay, but also native species like Vidal Blanc and the white skinned Vignoles.
The rolling hills of the Leelanau Peninsula are home to a good many grape vines, as well as the wineries that turn these bite-sized beauties into some of the country’s most luscious wines.
Apples are also a staple of Northern Michigan agriculture, including hearty varieties such as Honeycrisp and Gala. King Orchards, for example, with trees in Central Lake and Kewadin, offers U-Pick options for apples, peaches, strawberries, raspberries, and more, all through the growing season. Find more information at www.kingorchards.com
Other popular u-pick farms in Northern Michigan offering cherries, apples, and grapes, as well as strawberries, peaches, blueberries, raspberries and more, include Friske Orchards in Charlevoix, Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs, or Buchan’s Blueberry Hill in Traverse City.
From cherries, to apples, and grapes, or strawberries and raspberries, among other goodies, Northern Michigan produce is tasty and healthy, perfect for cooking or snacking.