April 17, 2015
In spring, a young Michigander’s fancies turn to … morels! Here’s a shot from Honor in the northwest Lower Peninsula showing a handful of black morels found on Tax Day. It’s earlier than I would have expected but hopefully it signals a good, long season for these woodland treasures.
Lots more Michigan morel photos and information on Michigan in Pictures!
PS: If you’re finding morels anywhere, post a comment here or two our Facebook.
August 27, 2014
The Freep reports that Michigan is forecasting a crop of almost 29 million bushels of apples in 2014:
This year’s estimate is just under the record 30 million bushels that were picked last year. The yield in 2013 was so robust that some of the state’s growers and packers, most of whom are on the west side of the state, filled their storerooms and even rented additional space to handle all the extra big crop.
In addition to setting a record, Smith said last year’s bumper crop put Michigan in the No. 2 spot for apple production, pushing New York down to No. 3.
Washington is by far the No. 1 apple-producing state in the country, growing more than twice as many apples as Michigan and New York combined.
Additional fun apple fact from this well-done Freep article: If you want Michigan apples, McDonald’s has them. The fast food giant is a major customer for the Michigan apple industry, purchasing 25.5 million pounds in 2013.
More apples on Michigan in Pictures!
August 9, 2014
July 11, 2014
French colonists from Normandy brought pits that they planted along the Saint Lawrence River and on down into the Great Lakes area. Cherry trees were part of the gardens of French settlers as they established such cities as Detroit, Vincennes, and other midwestern settlements.
Modern day cherry production began in the mid-1800s. Peter Dougherty was a Presbyterian missionary living in northern Michigan. In 1852, he planted cherry trees on Old Mission Peninsula (near Traverse City, Michigan). Much to the surprise of the other farmers and Indians who lived in the area, Dougherty’s cherry trees flourished and soon other residents of the area planted trees. The area proved to be ideal for growing cherries because Lake Michigan tempers Arctic winds in winter and cools the orchards in summer.
The first commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893 on Ridgewood Farm near the site of Dougherty’s original plantings. By the early 1900s, the tart cherry industry was firmly established in the state with orchards not only in the Traverse City area, but all along Lake Michigan from Benton Harbor to Elk Rapids. Soon production surpassed other major crops. The first cherry processing facility, Traverse City Canning Company, was built just south of Traverse City, and the ruby-red fruit was soon shipped to Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee.
…The most famous sweet cherry variety is the Bing cherry; this cherry variety got its name from one of Lewelling’s Chinese workmen. Another sweet cherry variety is the Lambert, which also got its start on Lewelling Farms. The Rainier cherry, a light sweet variety, originated from the cross breeding of the Bing and Van varieties by Dr. Harold W. Fogle at the Washington State University Research Station in Prosser, Washington. The Bing, Lambert and Rainier varieties together account for more than 95 percent of the Northwest sweet cherry production.
Today, the U. S. cherry industry produces more than 650 million pounds of tart and sweet cherries each year. Much of the cherry production is concentrated in Michigan and the Northwest. Michigan grows about 75 percent of the tart cherry crop. Oregon and Washington harvest about 60 percent of the sweet cherry crop. Other states with commercial cherry crops are Utah, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania and California.
Read on for more, and if you want to read about how some cherry farmers think that Federal cherry policy is leaving dollars in the orchards, head over to this Bridge Magazine article on how USDA cherry policy impacts Michigan cherry farmers.
June 12, 2014
June’s full moon takes place this Friday, the 13th. That convergence last happened in 2000, and you superstitious folks can breathe easy as it won’t happen again until 2049.
Regarding the June moon’s delicious name, the Farmer’s Almanac says:
The month of June’s full Moon’s name is the Full Strawberry Moon. June’s Full Strawberry Moon got its name because the Algonquin tribes knew it as a signal to gather ripening fruit.
It was often known as the Full Rose Moon in Europe (where strawberries aren’t native).
I checked and the Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market is reporting they have strawberries, so I assume the rest of the state will soon follow suit.
May 30, 2014
May 3, 2014
I’ve started to get reports of morels trickling in from here in Traverse City and other locations in the state. While we’re a ways from full-on morel madness, it’s a good time to start getting excited about the return of this once-a-year woodland delicacy.
Over 7 years, Michigan in Pictures has accumulated a lot of morel features – here are some favorites along with a couple from other sites:
- Over on Absolute Michigan I wrote Five Things You Need to Know about Michigan Morels that has some good info.
- Cherie wrote a great feature on morel collecting on Leelanau.com that includes a recipe.
- When you’re hunting morels, you need to know the difference between true morels and false morels, which are mildly poisonous.
- Here’s a great old photo of mushroomers with BIG baskets from the early days of the Boyne City National Morel Mushroom Festival which returns for its 54th year May 15-18, 2014.
- There’s also the 55th annual Mesick Mushroom Festival next weekend (May 9-11)
- TIME had a feature a few years back that I linked to (also with one of Rick’s photos) in Michigan Mushroom Nation about how mushrooms are becoming as American as apple pie.
- When the Absolute Michigan pool reached its 150,000th photo, I marked the occasion here with one big morel.