Solstice Fruit Farm - Real Michigan Fruit
We take pride in our Michigan grown apples and cherries. The rich soil and varied weather of our home state are the perfect medium to grow gorgeous fruit.
Each year Solstice Farms raises over 200,000 pounds of tart cherries in Kent and Newaygo Counties,, and over 500,000 pounds of tart cherries and 250,000 pounds of dark canner cherries on picturesque Old Mission Peninsula just north of Traverse City.
All our fruit is grown to Gerber Baby Food standards - which are of higher quality than traditional USDA standards - all grown in Michigan.
We grow cherries at our farm at the end of Old Mission Peninsula, 17 miles North of Traverse City, MIchigan in the Northwest region of Michigan's lower peninsula.
Emperor Francis and Rainier's
These are brine cherries used for maraschinos.
Emperor Francis Cherries ripen in June with an outstanding flavor. Fruit is large, high quality and yellowish-white. Trees are very hardy, productive and reliable.
Emperor Francis is quite crack resistant. Emperor Francis is an old established variety in Michigan and other states where it has often been predominantly raised to make marischino cherries!
The Rainier cherry was created in 1952 at Washington State University by Harold Fogle, as a cross between the Bing and Van cultivars. Rainiers are sweet cherries with creamy-yellow flesh. The cherries are very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain.
Ulster is named for Ulster County, New York, an area known for commercial sweet cherry production. The fruit is large, sometimes more than an inch wide.
The flesh is firm, very dark red, and one of the best in eating quality. The fruits are more resistant to cracking caused by rains just before harvest. Commercial orchardists have found that blossoms of 'Ulster' are more resistant to killing by late spring frosts that the blossoms of several other commercially important sweet cherry varieties.
'Ulster' cherries originated from a cross made in 1937 between 'Schmidt' and 'Lambert' cherries and was introduced in 1964.
'Hedelfingen' is a black cherry, medium large. It is an early bearing, productive tree, ripening with 'Van'. The fruit sets its color before it is ripe and needs protection from birds.
Here are the list of apples we grow on our Michigan fruit farms.
After the many attributes of McIntosh were discovered, plant breeders began crossing it with other varieties to enhance its traits. One of the earliest was the Cortland, combined with the Ben Davis variety.
Its flavor is sweet compared to McIntosh, and it has a flush of crimson against a pale yellow background sprinkled with short, dark red stripes and gray-green dots. Cortland has very white flesh and is an excellent dessert apple.
This all purpose apple was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, New York, USA in 1898. The apple was named after nearby Cortland County, New York.
Fuji apples are typically large or very large and round, on average the size of a baseball. They contain between 9-11% sugars by weight and have a dense flesh that is sweeter and crispier than many other apple varieties, making them popular with consumers around the world.
Fuji apples also have a very long shelf life compared to other apples, even without refrigeration. With refrigeration, Fuji apples can last up to 5-6 months.
Gala apples are small and are usually red with a portion being greenish or yellow-green, vertically striped. Gala apples are fairly resistant to bruising and are sweet, grainy, with a mild flavor and a thinner skin than most apples.
Gala apples were developed in New Zealand in the 1920s by orchardist J.H. Kidd. They are a cross between a Golden Delicious and a Kidd's Orange Red. Many sports of Gala have been selected, mostly for increased red color, including the popular Royal Gala.
They are also considered to be a very soft eating apple due to their lack of crispiness, well-suited for denture wearers. Quality indices include firmness, crispness, and a lack of mealiness.
Ginger Gold is one of the earliest commercial apple varieties to ripen, bearing in August on the east coast or even July in California. The fruit is conical and starts out a very pale green, though if left on the tree will ripen to a soft yellow with a slightly waxy appearance.
The primary use is for eating out of hand, though it can be used for most other purposes. The flesh, of a cream color, resists browning more than most varieties. The flavor is mild but with a bit of acid.
In a 1995 evaluation, the Virginia Extension Service held that "This is the best apple that we have evaluated that ripens before 'Gala'."
Ginger Gold is famous as the apple that Hurricane Camille brought forth. Camille brought devastating floods to Nelson County, Virginia in 1969, and the orchards of Clyde and Frances "Ginger" Harvey were badly washed out.
In recovering the few surviving trees around the edge of one Winesap orchard, another tree was found which Clyde Harvey recognized as being different. It was planted with the rest, but was found to produce yellow rather than red fruit. An extension agent identified the parents as Golden Delicious, Albemarle Pippin, and some other unknown variety. The variety was eventually named after Clyde Harvey's wife.
Golden Delicious is a large, yellow skinned cultivar and very sweet to the taste. It is sweeter than the Granny Smith and is a favorite for salads, apple sauce, and apple butter.
This cultivar is a chance seedling possibly a hybrid of Grimes Golden and Golden Reinette. The original tree was found on the Mullins' family farm in Clay County, West Virginia and was locally known as Mullin's Yellow Seedling and Annit apple. Anderson Mullins sold the tree and propagation rights to Stark Brothers Nurseries, which first marketed it as a companion of their Red delicious in 1914.
Honeycrisp (Malus domestica 'Honeycrisp') is an apple cultivar developed at the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station's Horticultural Research Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
Selected in 1974 as the B.O.D., and released in 1991, the Honeycrisp, once mistakenly slated to be discarded, has rapidly become a prized commercial commodity, as its sweetness, firmness, and tartness make it an ideal apple for eating raw. The Honeycrisp also retains its pigment well, and boasts a relatively long shelf life when stored in cool, dry conditions. An all around great tasting apple.
This apple was scientifically developed in 1942 at the University of Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station. It is a cross between a Jonathan and a Wagener.
Although it is grown in greatest volume in the northeastern and upper mid-western states, its production is increasing by popular demand throughout the country. It is medium to large, bright red, and has creamy white flesh that is very firm, crisp, and juicy.
All-purpose apples, the sweetly tart, deliciously spicy Ida Reds are especially good for snacks and desserts, and their firm quality makes them particularly desirable for baking. The flavor improves after several months in controlled-atmosphere storage.
Jonagold is a cultivar of apple which was developed in 1953 in New York, a cross between the crisp Golden Delicious and the blush-crimson Jonathan. They form a large sweet fruit with a thin skin. Because of their large size they are now favoured by commercial growers in many parts of the world. Jonagold is triploid, with sterile pollen, and as such, requires a second type of apple for pollen and is incapable of pollenizing other cultivars. The Jonagored Apple, a sport mutation of Jonagold, was once covered under United States Patent PP05937, now expired.
Jonagold has a green-yellow basic color with crimson, brindled covering colour. The apple has a fluffily crisp fruit. It is juicy and aromatic and has a sweet-sour taste. The skin can also turn out fully red or green other than Golden-Red.
Used for fresh eating and cooking. Juicy flavor has a spicy tang that blends well with other apples. Michigan’s cooler climate produces superb Jonathans.
The original apple bearing the name "Jonathan" which has continued to be sold in nurseries and grocery stores was developed by Rachel Negus Higley. According to The Higleys and their ancestry by Mary Coffin Johnson, Mrs. Higley gathered seeds from the local cider mill in Connecticut before the family made their journey to the wilds of Ohio in 1804 where she planted them. She continued to carefully cultivate her orchard and named the resulting variety after her husband, Jonathan Higley.
The McIntosh Red (McIntosh, Mac) is an apple cultivar with red and green skin, a tart flavor, and tender white flesh. It becomes ripe in late September.
It is traditionally the most popular cultivar in New England, well known for the pink sauce unpeeled McIntoshes make.
Many consider the McIntosh a superior eating apple and well suited for applesauce, cider, and pies. It is extremely common to find this particular cultivar packed in children's lunches across North America owing to its small to medium size and longstanding reputation as a healthy snack.
Every McIntosh apple has a direct lineage to a single tree discovered in 1811 by John McIntosh on his farm in Dundela, a hamlet located in Dundas County in the Canadian province of Ontario, near Morrisburg.
Paula Red apples are bright red with some yellow and tan spots; the skin often has a dusty sheen. They have a sprightly taste, not too sweet and not too tart, vinous and slightly reminiscent of strawberries.
Paula Red apples are suitable for both eating fresh and cooking, although they become extremely soft when cooked, which suits them to some dishes (applesauce) and not others (pies).
Paula Red apples were discovered around 1960 by grower Lewis Arends near a McIntosh block in his orchard in Ravine Sparta Township, Kent County, Michigan. He named the apple after his wife, Pauline. Paula Reds appeared on the market as a distinct cultivar in 1968.
The Red Delicious is an apple that was recognized in Wellsburg, Iowa in 1880. It originated at an orchard as "a round, blushed yellow fruit of surpassing sweetness".
Stark Brothers Nurseries held a competition to find an apple to replace the Ben Davis apple. The winner was Jesse Hiatt, a farmer in Wellsburg, Iowa. He had recognized a cultivar he called "Hawkeye". The Starks bought the rights from Hiatt and renamed the cultivar "Delicious". It has a beautiful red color and is quite a durable apple.
A brand new variety of McIntosh apples, Ruby Macs grow to a bright red blush over the entire skin. The fruit starts to turn red before other types of apples, but ripens along side varieties of McIntosh.
The Zestar is an apple cultivar that was released in 1998 at the University of Minnesoata. It was bred to be sold as an early season apple able to survive in colder climates like Minnesota.
Zestar! packs a tarter taste with just a hint of brown sugar.
The school describes their latest breed as “fresh apple cider with a bit more zip.” With an early blooming season and two and a half month storage life, Zestar! is also great for cooking.