77
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      Farmers look to positive cherry and strawberry harvest

      Leelanau County farmer, James Bardenhagen says it both sweet and tart cherries will have good but delayed crops this year.

      The strawberry and cherry harvest is right around the corner. Farmers say that as long as the good weather keeps up, it's going to be a good year for both crops.

      Leelanau County farmer, James Bardenhagen says both sweet and tart cherries will have good but delayed crops this year.

      "Sweet cherries are nicely loaded," said James. "We are looking at I think a bumper crop or a big crop in the sweet cherries."

      The harsh winter delayed both crops by a couple of weeks. Sweet cherries are expected to be ready to pick by mid July, and tart cherries should be ready at the end of July.

      "This year sweet cherries on the West Coast will beat us to the market," said James. "So that's always a little more of a challenge you get. Our cherries will be in when they've already started."

      The same is true for strawberry crops. Steve Bardenhagen says the delay will be positive for his harvest.

      "It's good for us because the Cherry Festival will be going on," said Steve. "Fourth of July is a big day so we'll have a lot of demand."

      Both farmers say they could use a little more rain to keep things from drying up.

      "We could use some moisture, that's for sure," said James. "We had about a half inch over a week ago at this time of year we are trying to use about an inch a week...so we are short right now."

      But will we have Michigan cherries for the National Cherry Festival?

      Farmers say, "yes." James says the majority of northern Michigan cherries won't be ready in time, but that cherries farther south are about two weeks ahead of ours.