July is here and that means tart cherries are ready for harvest.
Here are a few quick facts…
Michigan grows 75% of the entire US tart cherry crop. In Leelanau County alone there are 1,303,465 cherry trees. If you really like trivia note the average pie contains 250 cherries and each cherry tree yields enough cherries to make 28 pies. Even without doing the math Michigan grows A LOT of cherries.
So…eat up! Michigan is expected to harvest 86 million pounds of tart cherries this year. This amazing super food contains 19 times more beta-carotene that blueberries or strawberries. Cherries provide fiber and vitamin C in addition to a powerful antioxidant called melatonin. Melatonin is known to help enhance sleep, is linked to cancer prevention, and also has anti-inflammatory qualities. Combine all this with the cherry’s bioflavonoid and you also have a natural pain reliever. This is why cherry juice is often called joint juice. For many people it helps to relieve pain associated with arthritis.
So, the next time you sit down for a sweet treat think cherries. Grab a bowl full and enjoy the locally grown powerhouse.