Leelanau Fruit Company
FEATURED: AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2012
Life in Northern Michigan continues to be a bowl of cherries. My wife, Kelsey, and I welcomed our third child, a son named Cameron, in 2012. Cam was born with sagittal craniosynostosis, a fusion of skull bones that prohibits an infant’s skull and brain from growing normally.
In April 2013, a team of doctors at the University of Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital performed a cranial vault reconstruction on Cam. His surgery was an astounding success, and he is now our most active child, a 5-year-old boy with no fear. He brings joy to our home and is the cause of some new gray hairs on our heads.
Our daughter, Lauren, is 7 and in second grade. Lauren loves riding horses, reading and doing her schoolwork. Keaton, 10, is in fifth grade. He loves sports, and is involved in many baseball and basketball teams.
Kelsey, my parents and I continue to grow our business. In 2012, we acquired a company that produces ingredients for holiday fruitcakes. Now, directly after our cherry season concludes in mid-August, we enter fruitcake season. We prepare mixes that include our cherries as well as pineapple, orange peel, lemon peel and other fruits for large-scale bakeries around the U.S. and in Canada. If you have a Costco nearby, you can buy a Kirkland fruitcake made with our cherries. We also promote our tart cherry juice as a super fruit to help athletes with muscle recovery.
In 2017, we planted almost 11,000 cherry trees, the most in our farm’s history. The orchards look beautiful.
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Some of Leelanau's cherries are dried, while others are covered in chocolate or turned into juice.
Freshly picked ripe cherries (top). A visit from the 2015 National Cherry Queen, Danielle Bott (right).