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If you’re traveling along the roads of northern Michigan right now, you’ll probably see a few cherries available for sale on roadside farm stands. The photo posted above is of dark sweet cherries on Johnson Farms’ stand (my family’s farm) on the Old Mission Peninsula, about a half-mile north of Mapleton on the right side of the road.

As far as when various cherries will be ripe, the cherry farmers in my family say they’ll be starting to shake light brines (the lighter-colored and gold cherries) the week of July 10. They’ll shake light cherries first, followed by dark sweets.

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It takes about a week to shake the sweet cherries (lights and darks), and tart cherries will follow, with shaking of these to start sometime in the week of July 17.

But you should be able to find sweet cherries on some of the roadside farm stands right now, and tarts in possibly another week or so.

Folks often wonder why the National Cherry Festival isn’t held in northern Michigan during the days when cherries are actually ripe here. I don’t know the logistics behind the Cherry Festival timing, but sometimes they do coincide (like, for instance, being able to find dark sweets on farm stands this week).

On the cherry farming side of things, however, there are often too many variables – namely, the weather – to accurately predict when cherries will be ripe months ahead of time.

For a guide to roadside farm stands on the Old Mission Peninsula, check out our interactive map here.

Also Read…

Photo of the Day: Cherry Shakers Ready to Roll

A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

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