In celebration of National Cherry Month, we're kicking off with a look at the wonderful process of cherry harvest and grading that creates delicious Graceland dried fruit from these Northern Michigan treasures. Late summer marks an exciting time for us here at Graceland Fruit. Cherry harvest is in full swing and with that comes a round-the-clock process of shaking, loading, trucking, and grading at our facilities and throughout the surrounding area. Have you ever wondered how one of those fresh, plump berries ends up as a tasty topping on your morning oatmeal? You’ve come to the right place.
As natives of cherry country, we’re no stranger to long drives past landscapes of fruitful orchards. Graceland Fruit was actually started (over 40 years ago!) by a co-op of cherry farmers who envisioned a process of drying fruit for year-round enjoyment. Their deep knowledge from years of planting, tending, protecting, and harvesting has shaped our drying process into what it is today. That being said, we now know that the first and most important step of obtaining a delectable dried tart cherry is a strong, healthy cherry harvest. 
What really matters to us here at Graceland Fruit is the quality of fruit coming into “the pad” to be graded and used for dried cherry production. Graceland uses Grade A cherries in our drying process, so we sample each shipment that we receive from area farmers to test a handful of measures including color, size, absence of blemishes, foreign material, and others. This allows us to ensure that the fruit you’re enjoying is top notch from farm to table. Fruit that doesn’t make the cut is sent off for other uses. Winners continue on to be pitted and primed for use in our manufacturing process. And while the drying process is a story for another day, it wouldn’t exist without the long hours of dedication that farmers invest year-round in the most uncertain of industries: Mother Nature. We’re thankful for our partners in the cherry industry who continue to allow us to bring you an exceptional finished product daily. Here’s to a month of fruitful celebration!
A farmer prepping the shaking mechanism to harvest mature fruit from one of the many trees in his orchardView from the top of the shakerCherry galore!"The pad" where all of our cherries are collected and gradedFreshly harvested cherries being firmed for transportation