National Cherry Blossom Festival – 2 to 9 July

National Cherry Blossom Festival – 2 to 9 July

Cherries are one of the most important fruits grown in North America. In the United States, most sweet cherries are grown in Washington, California, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

Sometime around 1910, cherry growers in the Grand Traverse area began to hold unofficial “blessing of the blossoms” ceremonies each year at blossom time in May. The festival was getting bigger and more grand every year, including the Cherry Queen. In 1931 the Michigan state legislature resolved to make the Cherry Festival a national celebration. The National Cherry Festival officially became a week-long celebration in 1968.

There are three main kind of cherries grown in North America:

  1. Bing : This is the top commercial sweet cherry in North America. The fruit is firm and juicy and is exceptionally large, of the finest quality. It has an intensely vibrant, sweet flavor. It is 17-19% sugar and when it is ripe, it has a mahogany-red color. Bing has become the ideal model to which other varieties are compared and it is available from mid-June to early August.
  2. Chelan : This is the leading sweet cherry of the Pacific Northwest which ripens early. It ripens 2 weeks earlier than Bing, and it resembles Bing in texture, size, shape and color and it is less vulnerable to rain. It contains 16-18% sugar and is available between early to late June.
  3. Rainer : This is a premium variety that ripens after Bing. With its pale yellow skin and reddish blush, it is a sweet cherry with a distinctive and superior appearance. It is yellow fleshed and has an extraordinary sugar level of 17-23%. It is fine textured and has is available from late June to early August.
  4. Skeena : This large, firm and sweet cherry is growing in popularity amongst both consumers and growers. It matures about 16 days before Bing. It has a dense structure and its color varies from dark red to almost black. It has a fruit sugar composition of 19-20% and is available from mid-July through August.
  5. Sweetheart : This is a heart-shaped, large, dark red cherry that matures within one week to 10 days, 3 weeks after Bing. It has a superior shipping texture, a sugar level of 16-19% and is available from late June to mid August.
  6. Tieton : This Mahogany-red cherry is an early-season cherry that ripens one week earlier than Bing. With its impressive size, glossy surface and thick green stems, it has an overall attractive look, a mild sugar level of 16-18% and is available early June through July.

Health and Nutrition :

Recent studies have shown that consuming cherries can selectively reduce several biomarkers associated with inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and cancer.

Sweet cherries are thought to have a fair amount of dietary potassium, with approximately 260 mg of potassium for every cup of fresh cherries consumed. In the past ten years there has been increasing evidence that adequate potassium intake reduces the risk of hypertension and stroke. A diet high in potassium and calcium, and low in sodium and alcohol, is a safe approach to promote healthy blood pressure.

Melatonin is a hormone that, in addition to antioxidant activity, also plays a role in promoting healthy circadian rhythm and promotes healthy sleep patterns. Cherries are one plant food source of melatonin. In one study, consuming melatonin was shown to be effective in reducing jet lag. In combination with other behavioral approaches to increase sleep or decrease jet lag, consuming sweet cherry in usual amounts could prove to be useful.

reasons to eat cherries:

  1. Cherries are a melatonin sources. Melatonin is an effective means of reducing jet lag and promoting overall healthy sleep patterns.
  2. Cherries have properties that are anti-inflammatory which, as suggested by studies, may help to control arthritis and gout.
  3. Cherries contain antioxidants. These antioxidants may help to reduce the risk of cancer.
  4. Cherries are a healthy snack. A snack of 21 cherries has less than 100 calories.
  5. Cherries contain certain anthocyanins which may help to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Festival Activities:

THE NORTHERN LOOP TOUR:

Indulge your senses with agricultural environment as you make your way through curving countryside roads boasting fabulous views of cherry and apple orchards, vineyards, old-fashioned villages and Grand Traverse Bay. Each of the five tasting stops along the way offers its own unique experience, from the purely elegant Lake Michigan to cozy nooks loaded with charm. Sip a variety of wines including Michigan’s most renowned producers.

THE GRAND TRAVERSE BAY LOOP:

Tours take place daily from 10 am to 3 pm, from Tuesday to Friday, July 5-8, 2016. Tours start at Leelanau Studios, 10781 East Cherry Bend Road, Traverse City, Michigan, 49685. Arrival: by 9:45 am. Tickets, which are very limited, cost $85 per person and includes a souvenir wine glass, transportation, wine tasting, picnic lunch and a fabulous day in wine country.

Meijer Festival of Races presented by Cherry Bay Orchards

The race will take place on Saturday, the 9th of July, 2016
PRIORITY HEALTH 5K WALK/RUN, 10K, 15K AND CHATEAU GRAND TRAVERSE HALF MARATHON
The Traverse City Foot Race was first took place in 1973 as a 10K and then in 1978 shifted to a 15K and finally in 1989 Traverse City’s first 5K was added. Now, all 3 of those events and a half-marathon take place.

RACE FEATURES:

Half Marathon Starts at Chateau Grand Traverse, the first 2 miles includes a trail run through the vineyard and cherry orchard.

There is a $10 technical shirt upgrade option for 5K/10K/15K races.

Half Marathon Runners are awared a technical t-shirt and finisher’s medal
A NEW feature is that 15K runners receive a finishers medal
A $5.00 race transfer fee is required for switching events. No refunds or transfers.

Parades

In honor of National Rainier Cherry Day on July 11, a top-notch chef from an iconic restaurant in each of the 50 states will be presenting their guests with a menu item centered on Northwest cherries. And chief among the featured cherries will be the ultra-sweet and very limited Rainier cherry. Click on each state in the map above to discover which restaurant will be highlighting these delicacies in the peak of their season.

The National Cherry Festival has now become a very famous and most awaited festival throughout the USA. The Festival is closely followed behind by the National Rainer Cherry Day which is held on the 11th of July each year to celebrate the extraordinariness of Rainer cherries and to promote Rainer Cherries and the whole species of Cherries!

Most people around the world tend to take fruits or granted thinking that they are not as tasty and only consider the health facts about fruits. Thus cherries are taken for granted as well. But we now know that there are so many different kinds of cherries and cherries also play an important role in treating or reducing the chances of various diseases including arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and cancer. The National Cherry festival aims at promoting these amazing facts about cherries through fun and amazement and is definitely a festival unlike many other!

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