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PHOTO RELEASE: MDARD Director Gary McDowell Celebrates Michigan’s Robust Cherry Industry During National Cherry Festival; Visits Great Lakes Packing, Orchard View Farm & Altonen Orchards

Harvesting over 90,000 tons of cherries annually, Michigan is the nation's leading producer of tart cherries

Traverse City, MI - Today, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) Director Gary McDowell and Cherry Marketing Institute President Julie Gordon attended Traverse City's National Cherry Festival, along with visiting Great Lakes Packing, Orchard View Farm, and Altonen Orchards. Throughout 2022, McDowell is traveling across the state, meeting with food and agricultural businesses as they advance during Michigan's economic recovery and revitalization.

"Traverse City is the Cherry Capital of the World, and I'm proud to be celebrating Michigan’s incredible cherry industry alongside the Grand Traverse community," said McDowell. "Our cherry farmers and industry provide jobs and other significant economic benefits throughout the Northern Michigan region and beyond. The National Cherry Festival is an exciting celebration of our cherry industry for everyone to enjoy."

Michigan grows 70 percent of the United States' supply of tart cherries, ranking first in production, and is the leading producer in the world for Montmorency tart cherries, known as "America's Superfruit." Montmorency tart cherries grown in the U.S. have the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants compared to other fruits.

“The first commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893, and from that moment forward, we have been working towards ensuring that our robust cherry industry is known around the globe,” said Gordon. “The Traverse City Cherry Festival is the culmination and celebration of the hard work that goes into our industry every day.”

Great Lakes Packing Company (GLPC) is a leading processor of tart and sweet cherries located in the heart of Michigan’s cherry country. GLPC began as a family enterprise in 1972 and has grown into a larger family of vertically integrated, predominantly grower-owned companies bringing Michigan cherries from farm to table locally and worldwide.

The cherries GLPC processes are raised over a wide geographic area by people who take pride in growing the finest fruit. The company takes care to operate responsibly in the environment to benefit growers, shareholders, employees, and consumers.

Orchard View Farm is owned by Paul D. Hubbell of Williamsburg, president of the Grand Traverse Fruit Growers' Council. Hubbell has been farming for more than 35 years.

Altonen Orchards is a second, third and fourth-generation family farm focusing on selling seasonable fresh fruits and vegetables to Northern Michigan. They work hard to provide high-quality products that also include great taste.

Throughout 2022, MDARD Director Gary McDowell and other members of MDARD are meeting with Michigan's food and agricultural businesses having conversations focused on how they can continue to thrive in Michigan's new economy and how best MDARD can assist their continuous development.