At HH Cherries, one of core values is “The Land”. The land is so precious here in Leelanau with the rolling hills, sandy loam soils and abundance of water to buffer the weather swings. We express it as “the wonder of Leelanau, with Lake Michigan buffering the temperature swings and providing the micro-environment to grow cherries, grapes and apples in abundance.” And on the land is community, a community of people living here year round or just for a visit. The land and the community are both precious. The Webster definition is “of great value, not to be wasted or treated carelessly.”
So as you know, we see our sweet cherries as precious… each and every one. Of the 500,000 we expect to harvest this year, each one is unique and when they are gone, they are gone. Fresh cherries cannot be stored to be consumed later. They are harvested and best eaten within a few days or even hours according to “The Fruit Snob” which my wife frequently calls me.
Cherries are red, mostly, although some blush varieties are gold and largely colorless. We laugh when we see cherry juice dripping down the chin of our guests, usually small children or grown men, as they relish in the summer delight.
And yes, sweet cherries are in short supply this year. California was impacted severely by frost, as was the lower part of Michigan. The opposite weather event impacted the Traverse City area – extreme heat. In the middle of the sweet cherry bloom, it was very hot for two days. The bees did not swarm to the blooms, and the heat shortened the time of the blooms being fertile from days to hours…. maybe minutes. We avoided the frost but got hit by the heat at bloom…. Never had that be a problem in previous years. The tarts bloomed later and were not impacted. We WILL have cherries so come on up, but the crop is once again smaller than hoped. (see June Drop blog from June 17, 2022)
So what is the link to blood? Well, one of our priorities is to support our neighbors and blood drives are one way we express our values by aiding others. Besides being red, blood is precious as it too has a limited shelf life and is in short supply. We are spearheading a local blood drive in Northport on July 6th which aims to be ‘The Most Scenic Blood Drive in America”, and dog gone it, we believe it can be done! Here is a link to a local article in the Northern Express highlighting why blood drives during the summer are so important. This summer, due to people slowing their donations during COVID and summer travel, the blood supply is lower than ever.
So if you are in the Northport area come out and sign up here in advance; type in “Northport” as the local city. Maybe, just maybe, we will have cherries at the farm ready for you to enjoy. Watch our Facebook and website for updates.
And if you are reading this and unable to make it to Michigan this summer, both the precious red of sweet cherries and blood donation can be yours right where you are! If you want fresh sweet cherries directly from Leelanau, order 2 or 4 pounds which can be shipped directly to your home from HHcherries.net. We pick ‘em, ship ‘em and they are awesome. Likewise, consider seeking out a local blood donation center and tell us how it goes. We would so appreciate your collaboration in this endeavor.
Phil and Sarah
note: Orchard and cherry pictures taken by Beryl Striewski