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The 57th Annual Fruit Crop Guesstimate, sponsored by the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association, will be held on June 6, nearly three weeks ahead of its usual time. Unusually warm weather across the eastern United States was the reason for moving the date of the Guesstimate ahead.

The Guesstimate will be held at the Amway Grand Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan, on June 6 at 2:30 p.m. The date of the Guesstimate had initially been set for June 27.

Terry Morrison at the sponsoring association said that both sweet cherries and tart cherries were in bloom in southwest Michigan in mid-March, and that harvest, normally 60 days after full bloom, would likely start the first or second week of June, a month ahead of normal.

The Cherry Industry Administrative Board meets the day of the Guesstimate to announce what portion of the tart cherry crop will be restricted under the federal market order. No official USDA tart cherry crop estimate is expected before June 28, so the board will likely depend on industry estimates in making its decision.

The guesstimate provides a forum for growers, processors, wholesalers, and retailers to review expectations for the tart cherry, sweet cherry, apple, peach, and blueberry crops in Michigan and across the nation, Morrison said.

By then, Morrison added, much more will be known about the fruit crop situation. Given the highly advanced state of fruit trees after the warm winter and 80-plus-degree weather in mid-March in Michigan and New York, many doubt that fruit crops can persist through frosts and freezes that usually occur throughout April. Large hay bales were burned in orchards on Fruit Ridge in Michigan the night of March 26-27, but clouds moved in and temperatures did not reach predicted low levels.

A reception will follow the Guesstimate.  The registration fee is $75 per person and includes meeting materials and the reception.

For more information, contact the Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association at 4747 S. Elm Valley Rd., Suttons Bay, MI 49682, phone (231) 271-5752, fax (231) 271-5753 or e-mail  K. Terry Morrison.

Scholarships

The Michigan Frozen Food Packers Association will also present up to three scholarships at the meeting. Applications must be received no later than May 18, and each recipient must be able to attend the scholarship presentation.

 “While there is preference given to students who have a relationship with a MFFPA member, priority will be given to those with food science majors, are in the upper 50 percent of their class, and who reside in Michigan,” according to the scholarship committee’s Melanie LaPerriere.

Anyone interested in applying should contact her at MBG Marketing, P.O. Box 322,Grand Junction, MI 49056, by  e-mail or by calling (269) 434-6791.