Fresh cherries from Edmondson Orchards at the National Cherry Festival

Everything is cherry in Traverse City for the National Cherry Festival, and farmers are already busy harvesting.

One of the first things you’ll see at Open Space is the Edmondson Orchards fresh cherry stand.

They are the only farm to sell fresh cherries at the National Cherry Festival, which they have been doing for 15 years.

“Having local cherries, of course, at the Cherry Festival is one of the highlights,” says Kat Paye, the festival’s executive director.

Growing, harvesting and packing fresh cherries is what Edmondson Orchards does best on the Old Mission Peninsula.

“We’ve always had nice cherries, but they’re exceptional this year because a lot of farmers will say, oh, we’ve got a limb breaker. This means that the tree is overloaded. At the moment, we have a very good balanced harvest. That’s why they have a nice, even size, nice, even coloring,” says owner and operator Harold Edmondson.

But some recent years have not been so good for local cherry growers.

“We lost the harvest twice due to frost. Last year we went about a week into the harvest and then we lost the harvest to Mother Nature and two inches of rain. All the cherries more or less exploded,” says Edmondson.

But this year’s harvest looks promising and just in time for the National Cherry Festival.

“The interaction with people is just amazing. They are so interested in agriculture and what is happening on the farm and lots of interesting questions with the fruits. It’s always fun and we have a lot of fun,” says Tana Wilsey, Cherry Stand Manager at Edmondson Orchards.

Edmondson Farm also offers a pick-your-own option for locals and visitors.

“I love getting up in the morning and walking around the orchards, which I do every morning, just to check not only the trees, but any other conditions that might interfere with the cherry picking experience.” “Our goal is to make this cherry picking experience top notch and high quality,” says Joanne Westphal, Cherry Connection Manager at Edmondson Orchards.

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