Cherries!

By Beacon Staff

In a few weeks, the cherry harvest around Flathead Lake will abound!

And fortunately there are many places, specifically in Lakeside and Somers, where you can buy fresh, delicious cherries.

This spring season was somewhat odd for the cherry crops (but then again, cherry seasons can be dynamic or dramatic).

Cherries are available at the Caroline Point Orchards, which is located right at Caroline Point Road on U.S. Highway 93.

Louise Swanberg owns the cherry orchard, which she helped her father plant about 50 years ago. Caroline Point Orchards produces more than 10 kinds of cherries, but the “Lambert” cherries appear to be the best because it’s the sweetest.

And incidentally, in 1932, the first railroad boxcar of Montana cherries were Lamberts, shipped from Kalispell. In the 1930s, cherry growing began to take shape. And in 1935, the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers, Inc., was established.

Nowadays, there are more than 120 cherry growers in the Flathead Valley – producing some of the best cherries in the United States. In fact, many cherries grown in the Flathead Valley are shipped to California, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and elsewhere.

Overall, the Flathead Lake area produced about 3-5 million pounds of cherries per year. Although, occasionally, the area has produced about 7 million pounds.

Cherry trees were first transplanted in Montana in 1866. After years of experimenting, the Flathead Valley was found to have the best qualities and climate for growing cherries.

And soon enough, we will have weeks to get some of the freshest, sweetest cherries from around the local area.

Aside from stopping at cherry stands or cherry orchards to get fresh cherries, or taking in some of the best cherry cheesecake at Dock’s Lakeside Marina, perhaps consider something a bit more indulgent – if not, decadent.

If you’re looking for cherry indulgence, consider attending The Polson Main Street Flathead Cherry Festival that will be held July 20 and 21.

There will be plenty of good food, arts and crafts – and there will be some serious competitions.

The Cherry Festival offers several chances to show your talent, such as a cherry pie-eating contest, cherry stem-tying contest, even a cherry-spitting contest. And overall, there will be more than 100 vendors selling cherries, cherry-related items and cherry merchandise.

So if you’re in the Flathead Valley during cherry season, you should indulge yourself.

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