Tart cherry crop in Midwest destroyed by weather

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Associated Press

Posted on July 13, 2012 at 4:03 AM

Updated Friday, Jul 13 at 6:02 AM

SISTER BAY, Wis. (AP) — Farmers who grow tart cherries in the Midwest have had one of their worst years.

An unseasonably warm March that caused trees to bud was followed by an April freeze that killed the blossoms.

The federal government estimates Michigan, the nation's top tart cherry producer, lost 97 percent of its crop.

It says Wisconsin lost about 93 percent.

Tart cherries are different from sweet cherries, the variety sold fresh at farmers markets and in grocery stores. Most tart cherries are dried or canned and used as ingredients in foods such as pies, granola and trail mix.

Most sweet cherries come from the West Coast, so they weren't damaged by the freak weather in the Midwest.

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