Report: Michigan cherry crop almost a total loss

 The overwhelming damage to U.S. tart cherry crop was detailed in a USDA report.

The numbers are truly staggering – the tart cherry crop in Michigan, the nation’s largest grower of tart cherries, is down 97 percent from last year. This caused a 68 percent drop nationally.

The forecast estimated Michigan will produce 5.5 million pounds of tart cherries this year, a far cry from 2011’s harvest of 157.5 million pounds, according to Food Business News.

Michigan cherry farmers were hit hard this spring after unusually warm weather caused trees to bloom early. The state then was hit with a series of harsh freezes, damaging the crop.

Since about 70 percent of the U.S.’ tart cherry crop comes from the Mitten State, food processors are expecting a massive shortage of tart cherries and even that they might be “unavailable,” according to Food Business News.

There also could be long-term consequences to the bust if cherry farmers switch to other crops, according to the publication.

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