2017-05-04 / Front Page

Blooms are popping

It’s that blooming time of year.

Sweet cherry trees are expected to be in bloom this weekend through most of Leelanau County, with tarts to follow for the weekend of May 13-14.

Calls and emails are coming in from downstaters wondering when to tour the county for views of her annual spring fashion show.

“It’s always a beautiful time of year when the cherries are blooming,” said Lorri Hathaway, executive director of the Leelanau Wine Trail. “It’s almost like a fall color tour, where visitors drive around but are looking at orchards.

“Everything is popping out, and there is a spring freshness in the air.”

The timing is a bit early, but only by a couple days compared to blooms of recent years, according to Bingham Township orchardist Jim Nugent. And while forecasted cool temperatures may hinder cherry production due to poor pollination, it will probably extend bloom times.

“In cool weather, the bloom lasts longer. We’ve seen that in the bloom of Forsythia. It’s been a long and beautiful bloom,” Nugent said.

Cherry trees are following suit.

“This weekend will be good for sweets. And the following weekend will be nice for seeing the tart bloom,” Nugent added.

The weather seems cooperative, with sunny skies and highs nearing 50 degrees predicted Saturday and Sunday in Lake Leelanau.

Leelanau County has about 4,400 acres planted in tart cherries, according to the latest census provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For quantity, bloom watchers may want to wait a week as about 9,300 acres are planted with tarts.

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