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Cherry dumping photo goes viral, grower calls for change

Santucci Farm has to dump 40,000 pounds of tart cherries on the ground in a matter of weeks, and for other growers in northern Michigan it could be even more.

GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mi (WPBN/WGTU) -- A Facebook post of cherries being dumped in Grand Traverse County has gone viral after being shared more than 20,000 times.

"If there was ever a time not to drop a cherry, this would be it," said Owner of Santucci Farm, Marc Santucci.

Santucci Farm has to dump 40,000 pounds of tart cherries on the ground in a matter of weeks, and for other growers in northern Michigan, it could be even more.


It’s all in order to comply with the Cherry Industry Administrative Board’s cherry marketing order to maintain a price satisfactory to the farmer.

Santucci says he’d rather sell all of his cherries for a lower price than sell some of them for a higher price and have to dump the rest.

By seeing the images of cherries being dumped, Santucci hopes to spread the word about a rule he feels needs to be changed.

He’s encouraging everyone who’s bothered by the images to write letters to congress asking for a change.

"I posted it because I want people to know that we sometimes do stupid things in this country in attempt to do the right thing -- we end up doing the wrong thing,” Santucci said. “Unless we can make the people who count understand and know what's going on, we'll never change it."

Santucci says growers themselves are not allowed to give away the cherries they have to dump. The waste cannot be donated to food pantries or shelters.

The CIAB sends people out to make sure they’re actually on the ground. The cherries are then left there to rot.

The shelf life of tart cherries is less than two days unless they’re processed, which is why even if they could give them away, it would be hard because of how many there are.

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