TRAVERSE CITY — It’s the reason for the season.
“The Cherry Connection” at the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Station in Leelanau County offers National Cherry Festival-goers a glimpse behind the midway and the downtown treats to the little red fruit behind it all.
“It’s where the farm meets the festival,” said Steve Patmore, a volunteer organizer at the station.
More than 400 people a day make the trek 10 miles outside of town to the horticulture station operated by Michigan State University Extension. There they can sample cherry products, learn more about the history of the cherry industry in northern Michigan, and take a tour that highlights some of the latest research benefiting northern Michigan farmers.
Heather Burch, of Traverse City, brought her two daughters to the station to learn more about the cherry industry. Burch said she remembers going to visit a farm during the festival when she was young, but it was time for a refresher course. They were headed to the pie-making contest later in the day, and the orchard tour provided some insight into the key ingredient.
“They’ve never been here before,” she said of her daughters. “I just thought we’d check it out. It’s something different.”
The tour groups traveling through the rolling Leelanau County hills had to use a bit of imagination this year; the March heat wave and subsequent frosts decimated most of this year’s cherry crop.
“These trees have not been harvested, but they look like they were,” said Duke Elsner, an agricultural educator for Grand Traverse County’s extension office who led the orchard tour. “You won’t find much of anything happening because we had the most devastating crop-production year that anyone can recall.”
Still, the tour highlighted some of the research projects under way, including tests of different grape vine and cherry tree varieties, and a new section dedicated to hops. They are even testing wildflower varieties to encourage native bees to help in pollination.
“Fruit crops primarily bloom early in the year, but the honey bees we bring don’t like to fly when its cold or windy. Some native bees do, so the more we can get native bees involved in pollination, the better,” he said.
Elsner said the station provides the time and resources necessary for long-term research that farmers would not have access to otherwise.
“Doing research on tree fruit is a very slow process, and farmers could never afford to give up much of their acreage or their space or their time to do that type of research on their own,” he said. “It’s a perfect mission for the university.”
Larry and Teri Smith, of Clinton, are in the middle of a 10-day tour of western Michigan. Each has a background agriculture, and they wanted to learn more about the cherry industry in Leelanau County. They were surprised to find out about the station’s other efforts with hops and grapes.
“I also found it interesting how they’re trying to get the cherry trees smaller and bushier,” Teri said, of the station’s research into dwarf root stocks. Smaller trees make it easier to pick fruit without damaging the plant or the cherry.
Patmore said the Cherry Connection provides an important perspective into farmers behind all the hoopla in July.
“Farmers are the greatest people in the world,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to emphasize here.”
TRAVERSE CITY — It’s the reason for the season.
Road conditions a factor in fatal Acme crash
It appears no amount of plowing and salting could fully combat the effect abysmally low temperatures and near-constant snow had on road conditions before a fatal two-vehicle crash in Acme Township.Continued ...
Iconic TCL&P windmill over Traverse City will come down
Traverse City Light & Power’s iconic wind turbine, a towering structure that for 17 years spun its blades and accented the M-72 skyline, is set to be a thing of the past.Continued ...
Kalkaska struggles to pay retiree health care
Charlie Shafer recently fell from a ladder, a tumble that compressed three discs in his back and damaged several nerves.Continued ...
Sheriff's dept. closes lobby — 'last resort' to homeless
For years, the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department's lobby informally served as the “last resort” for a small number of street homeless people too belligerent and drunk to stay at church shelters.Continued ...
TCAPS board praises Cousins
The Traverse City Area Public Schools Board of Education approved a largely positive evaluation of the district’s superintendent.Continued ...
Sewer plant fix could prevent a disaster
An environmental disaster could result if local officials fail to replace at least one of eight filtering membranes at Traverse City’s waste water treatment plant.Continued ...
GT commission revisits budget
Grand Traverse County commissioners will try again to pass a 2014 budget at a committee meeting tonight.Continued ...
- Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Man dies in Acme crash
One man is dead after a multi-vehicle crash in Acme Township today.Continued ...
Internet outage hits Grand Traverse gov't offices, businesses
An Internet outage left several Traverse area Charter Communications fiber optic customers without the means to send emails, take payments, check out library books and perform the thousands of other everyday tasks now requiring online access.Continued ...
Constant snow = slick roads
The new week didn’t begin quietly in Kalkaska County, what with a new round of wintry weather.Continued ...
NMC weighs in on Amazon drone plan
Amazon’s idea to let self-guided drones deliver packages from warehouse to doorstep could make online retail soar someday, but its ambitious timeline may not fly.Continued ...
Mom drives with drugs, child
A Traverse City woman faces charges after authorities said she illegally drove a vehicle while under the influence of prescription medication with her son, 3, in the car.Continued ...
Embezzler says he sorry for crimes
A Grawn man who admitted he stole electronics from an employer said he’s sorry.Continued ...
Possible bomb a false alarm
A “suspicious device” that brought a state police bomb squad unit to a fruit processor’s facility in Grawn turned out to be no bomb at all.Continued ...
Clearing the Record: 12/10/2013
Because of a reporter’s error, a Sunday article on new legislation should have said adult foster care and group homes will be able to honor “do not resuscitate wishes” of patients.Continued ...
- Monday, December 9, 2013
City to increase focus on sidewalk plowing
City commissioners buried in residents' complaints about unplowed sidewalks took little warmth from efforts to increase enforcement of snow removal requirements for property owners.Continued ...
Interlochen Wendy's robbed; man arrested
Authorities arrested an Interlochen man on suspicion of armed robbery. Michigan State Police responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Wendy’s restaurant in Interlochen on Sunday night.Continued ...
Interlochen Wendy's subject of armed robbery
Authorities arrested an Interlochen man, 50, on suspicion of armed robbery.Continued ...
TCAPS reviews Cousins
Traverse City Area Public Schools’ Board of Education will release their annual evaluation of the district’s superintendent during a meeting tonight.Continued ...
Touching Michigan's History
Sometimes it’s best to sit on the floor and pass around artifacts to get a feel of early Michigan history.Continued ...
- Sunday, December 8, 2013
Officials question tax-exempt status of property that houses CVB
A smoldering debate over what some locals dubbed “festival fatigue” prompted city officials to question the tax-exempt status of the downtown property that houses the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau.Continued ...
Dairy farmer goes against grain, succeeds
Dairy farmer Bob Plummer doesn’t trouble himself with the status of the Farm Bill in Washington these days. He doesn’t have to.Continued ...
Law will allow nursing homes to honor end-of-life wishes
A recent amendment to a Michigan law will allow nursing homes staff to honor the wishes of patients who signed “do not resuscitate” orders.Continued ...
Growing grapes, learning the biz
Sherman Atkinson is working toward a dream: his son Patrick’s dream.Continued ...
$20 million can't move Rogers City power plant
A 10-year-old quarry three miles from Rogers City remains just that.Continued ...
- Road conditions a factor in fatal Acme crash