Today, Cherry Central is officially 50 years old. 50 Years! Celebrating the Past; Growing the Future.
Let’s look back at where we started and where we are today.
On April 2, 1973, five Michigan farmers came together to form the Cherry Central Cooperative. Since then, our federation of grower-controlled operations provide centralized sales and marketing operations for Michigan fruits and vegetables.
Our first products were tart cherries, sweet cherries, juice cherries, and purple plums. We sold tart cherries in 30-pound tins, packed in drums and plastic containers or in a hot pack.
Cherry Central soon began to export its products to Canada, Japan, and other countries in East Asia. Outstanding success in these markets led to expansion into Europe. By 1975, 25% of Cherry Central’s business came from export sales thanks to high demand for the unique qualities of the Montmorency cherry. Today, Cherry Central exports a variety of products all over the world.
Innovation remains an important part of our mission. In 1984, Cherry Central acquired Dunkley International as a wholly owned subsidiary. Acquiring this machinery manufacturer allowed us to expand our focus on developing innovative fruit processing equipment. Through the acquisition, we offered sales, leasing, service, and manufacture cherry pitters and related equipment. We could also handle fabrication of complete cherry and blueberry processing lines.
Since then, Cherry Central has continued to grow. We share our apples, blueberries, cranberries, and other sweet crops with the world. Today Cherry Central transforms the world’s best fruit into a wide range of outstanding products. We produce and package plant-based foods for the retail trade and wholesale markets, including ingredients, food service, private label, and co-pack opportunities. As the food culture evolves, so do we. Our product line is always adapting to meet our clients’ needs.
Today, Cherry Central comprises hundreds of dedicated farmers and preferred processors in renowned fruit-growing regions in the United States, Canada and around the globe. Cherry Central leads the way in food safety, nutrition, and sustainability. We love what we grow and know that you will too.
Thank you to our grower owners and to our loyal customers for the past 50 wonderful years. We look forward to serving you for the next 50 and beyond.