Whether you like them sweet or sour, there is only a brief window of time to enjoy fresh cherries. The short cherry season (lasting as few as four weeks and peaking around mid-July) gives us sweet cherries from the Pacific Northwest and sour cherries, also known as “pie” or “tart” cherries, from Michigan. While sweet cherries are often sold fresh, most of the sour-cherry crop is canned, dried or frozen.
Each July, at the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, Michigan (the self-proclaimed cherry capital of the world), as many as half a million people join together to celebrate the harvest of 80 million pounds of sour cherries. The festival includes pit-spitting competitions (record distance: 95 feet 9 inches), cherry pie-eating contests and a CHERRYOPOLY tournament, and features specialties like cherry popcorn, cherry salsa and, of course, cherry pie.
Even if you can’t get to Michigan for the festival, have a cherry celebration of your own. Eat them fresh or try them in our delicious recipes— either way, cherries are a delicious and healthy treat.