About Montmorency Cherries
Montmorency Tart Cherries
Part of the Rosaceae family, the Montmorency cherry falls under the species “prunus cerasus,” or “sour cherry.” The prunus genus also contains other stone fruit, which is a flesh fruit with a single seed, like almonds, peaches, plums, and of course, cherries. The cerasus part is thought to be derived from Cerasus, Turkey, although cherries have also been said to originate from Asia. With its early development around 300 B.C., the geographic landscape back then greatly differs from what we see on the map nowadays, so it is difficult to pinpoint an exact original location for the Montmorency cherry.
A Brief Background on Traverse City Cherries
What we do know is that we should thank the French colonists for first planting cherry pits in the 1600s along the Saint Lawrence River. This resulted in a plethora of cherry trees throughout the Great Lakes area. It wasn’t until 1852, however, that Peter Dougherty introduced cherry trees to the Old Mission Peninsula. The Old Mission Peninsula of Northwest Michigan creates the division between East Grand Traverse Bay and West Grand Traverse Bay and is located near the pinky of the Michigan mitten.
After Dougherty planted the first cherry trees, others soon followed suit, which resulted in the first commercial tart cherry orchard in Michigan in 1893. By then, Traverse City and Chicago were connected by railroad, and cherries could be shipped, via train or boat, to a number of destinations across the country. It is also believed that after many of Michigan’s forests were stripped for the lumber industry it made way for people to plant cherry orchards. With its rich history, it is no wonder that cherries are a part of the culture in Northern Michigan.
At Cherry Bay Orchards, we are happy to be a part of that culture. Because tart cherries grow well in the Northern Michigan region, we feel a sense of responsibility to the land from which we harvest. We consider ourselves stewards of the land and rely on sound agricultural practices. It is this approach that makes our company honest and helps our cherry concentrate and dried fruit products to taste great.