Fresh Fruit Growers, Processors, and Marketers
A Family of Companies
If it takes a village to raise a child, then imagine what it takes to harvest fruit from 6,000 acres into superior products. The Cherry Bay Orchards organization consists of:
- A Cooperative of Growers
- Storage Facilities
- Processing Plants
At our core, we understand working together as a team of companies helps deliver a quality experience for all of our customers. This includes being responsible, which we demonstrate through our traceability. We track all of our products from planting to packing through consistent numbering and labeling systems along with detailed recordkeeping. Through traceability, we are able to assure safety and quality.
When harvest arrives, we work 24 hours a day until the job is complete. We shake the ripe cherries from the trees and load them on cherry-colored school buses that have been converted into flatbed trucks. After being in the hot sun, the tart cherries head to the pool, which is our name for a hydro-cooling system that brings the fruit to a crisp 35 degrees. The water is recycled, and the cherries are then ready to be pressed into tart cherry concentrate or pitted, frozen and dried.
Creating Dried Fruit
After we harvest our fine selection of cherries, cranberries and blueberries, the fresh fruit is moved into our processing facility. Here, infusion for our sweetened dried fruit takes place before the moisture is taken out. (For cherries, the pitting has already taken place.) We slowly add sugar to give the fruit the right blend of natural taste and sweetness. Then, a continuous commercial dryer removes the appropriate level of moisture.
Our dried apple rings are processed without sugar—apples are washed, size-graded, peeled, cored and sliced before going through a continuous drier.
Life is different up here in Northern Michigan. We recognize the call for environmental stewardship because when we look out and see the natural beauty of the Great Lakes region, we want to keep it that way for the next generation. From environmentally safe pest control and integrated pest management, to reusing water in underground irrigation, we waste virtually nothing in the orchard or the processing plant. In other words, we reuse, recycle, and repurpose with the best of them.