After a very long winter and spring – the last two months of which we’ve been under a “Stay Home Stay Safe” executive order (currently running through May 28) signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer due to the COVID-19 pandemic – the cherry blossoms are starting to bloom on the Old Mission Peninsula. Yay!
I took these photos last night at Johnson Farms, my family’s farm on Center Road about a half-mile north of Mapleton. They’re always some of the first trees to bloom, and we’ve so looked forward to that happy event this year.
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These first blossoms are sweet cherries, which will be followed by tart cherries in a week or two, and then apples, which have that lovely pink color. I would expect that peak viewing times for the sweet cherry blossoms will be now through this weekend.
The sweets blossomed right around this same time last year – I posted a photo on May 18, 2019. While we’ve had some chilly nights over the past week, my brother Dean says he’s not seen a lot of freeze in the orchards – just pockets of freeze here and there.
That’s good news, especially since the USDA announced that they will buy $20 million worth of U.S. tart cherries, along with other fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and seafood products to distribute to communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
However, other parts of Michigan have not fared well with the colder temperatures. Cherry farmers in west and southwest Michigan have seen losses of up to 50 percent of their crop, according to Michigan Farm News.