Michigan State Foods
A cherry is a small, fleshy, red or reddish-black fruit that contains a hard little pit, usually sold with the slender stem still attached. Some varieties are tart, and are usually preserved with sugar as jam or used for pies and other baked goods. Sweet cherries are usually eaten fresh, though they’re also the base for maraschino cherries. Both ripen in July in Michigan. Cherries are valued for their pleasant flavor, as well as for containing potassium, vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants.
Cherries came to the U.S. with early European settlers in the 1600s, but commercial cherry production in Michigan didn’t begin until 1852. Michigan now grows almost three quarters of the tart cherries produced in the United States. It also ranks as the country’s fourth largest sweet cherry grower, with a total of about four million cherry trees in the state. Traverse City bills itself as the Cherry Capital of the World and hosts the National Cherry Festival each July. Eau Claire is affectionately known as the Cherry Pit Spitting Capital of the World.