So Far, So Good For Many Local Fruit Crops

Jun 15, 2018

Southwest Michigan strawberries might be small this year, but they should be tasty.
Credit J Pat Carter / AP Photo

This year’s cold, wet, late spring might yet pay off in fruit. Michigan State University Extension educator Mark Longstroth says by the time Southwest Michigan’s various fruit plants started growing in May, they’d avoided the danger of spring frost. The season looks promising for many crops.

Longstroth says it appears likely that Southwest Michigan farmers will see a “pretty good” year for peaches and blueberries, despite winter damage here and there. He says juice grapes look “very big,” the cherry crop is “fair” and while apples are less numerous than some years, in other places they are thriving.

“Up north in Grand Rapids they think they’ve got a record crop of apples and up in Traverse City they think they have a record crop of cherries,” he said.

Strawberries are one crop that did suffer from the late spring. Longstroth says strawberries grew slowly during the cold weather, then stopped when things suddenly turned warm.

“When it gets hot they start to ripen right away, they don’t waste their time getting any bigger, they just go to being sweet and red,” he said.

Longstroth says that what this year’s strawberries lack in size, they make up in flavor.