2017-05-25 / Front Page

Blooms can still entertain

Peak blossom season in orchard-rich Leelanau County — a treat for residents and visitors — usually occurs in mid-May.

A drive might be required to the Peninsula’s more northern reaches, but there are still some blocks of cherries in bloom.

And many orchards of apples, the county’s second-biggest fruit crop, should be in their prime for viewing this weekend.

Leelanau County’s doors open wide for Memorial Day weekend, the traditional start to summer. For folks who enjoy spending time outside, morel mushrooms are still being picked, bass season opens — and many county orchards remain entertaining.

“The farther north you go, the better it is,” suggested Nikki Rothwell, executive director of the Northwest Michigan Horticultural Research Center in Bingham Township.

“My apples are in full bloom right now,” offered grower Mark Steimel, whose orchards are located near the intersection of Overby, Zeits and Schomberg roads south of Leland. “I would say they should be good for the weekend, and after that they’ll be gone.”

Steimel said he doesn’t mind sharing roadside views with orchard peepers, and added that cooler weather in May has helped extend the bloom in apples and cherries.

Gary Fredrickson’s family has farmed cherry trees for generations in Leelanau Township. While his orchards are distant from roads, he welcomes visitors to view from the road and says several cherry orchards still in bloom can be found nearby. Drives along Melkild, Seth, Kilcherman and Scott roads, for instance, will give visitors a glimpse of what most of the county looked like over the past two weekends.

A plethora of more organized outdoor events are outlined in our coverage this week.

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