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The Extraordinary History of the Tart Cherry

Tart Cherry Juice

The Tart Cherry has an amazing history that is intertwined with Michigan. The first tart cherry tree was planted in 1852 by Peter Dougherty. Mr Dougherty was a Presbyterian missionary living on Old Mission Peninsula (near Traverse City, Michigan) Much to the surprise of the other farmers and Indians who lived in the area, Dougherty's tart cherry farm and trees flourished and soon other residents of the area started their very own cherry farms. The area proved to be ideal for growing sweet and tart cherries because Lake Michigan tempers Arctic winds in winter and cools the orchards in summer.

The first commercial tart cherry orchards in Michigan were planted in 1893 on Ridgewood Farm near the site of Dougherty's original plantings. By the early 1900s, the tart cherry industry was firmly established in the state with orchards not only in the Traverse City area, but all along Lake Michigan from Benton Harbor to Elk Rapids. Soon production surpassed other major crops. The first cherry processing facility, Traverse City Canning Company, was built just south of Traverse City, and the ruby-red tart cherry fruit was soon shipped to Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee.

The Montmorency is the primary variety of tart cherry. It was planted in the early orchards and is still used today. The fruit is excellent for pies, preserves and juice. The newest American variety of tart cherry is the Balaton. Dr. Amy Iezzoni developed this tart cherry variety at Michigan State University. It currently has limited production, but has great potential for the fresh market and for juice.

Sweet and tart cherries have pleased the palates of food lovers for centuries. Their ruby-red color and tangy taste won cherries a place on the tables of Roman conquerors, Greek citizens and Chinese noblemen. Cherries were brought to America by ship with early settlers in the 1600s.

New Research Shows the Power of Tart Cherries

Recently published research conducted at Michigan State University (1) investigated a range of fruits and berries for the level and activity of anthocyanins found in each.

Researchers analyzed the ability of the fruits to help maintain a healthy body and act as antioxidants to destroy free radicals. The researchers then quantified the anthocyanin levels of tart cherries and sweet cherries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, cranberries, elderberries and bilberries.

Researchers discovered that the antioxidant activity of anthocyanins from cherries was superior to vitamin E at a test concentration of 125 g/ml.

Anthocyanins 1 and 2 are present in both cherries and raspberries. The yields of pure anthocyanins 1 and 2 in 100 g in cherries and raspberries were the highest of the fruits tested at 26.5 and 24 mg, respectively. Fresh blackberries and strawberries contained only anthocyanin 2 at a total level of 22.5 and 18.2 mg/100 g, respectively; whereas anthocyanins 1 and 2 were not found in bilberries, blueberries, cranberries or elderberries.

Tart cherries are the new superfruit. Research research indicates that tart cherries are classified as a new super fruit. The tart cherry is bound to attract attention for those interested health solutions.

The "Dean of Melatonin Research" Gives
Tart Cherries High Marks

Dr. Russel Reiter never envisioned that he'd become a hero to U. S. tart cherry growers, but then again, he never imagined that melatonin, the simple, natural hormone he'd been studying for years would be found in such significant quantities in tart cherries.

"We were surprised at how much melatonin was in cherries, specifically the Montmorency variety," says Reiter. The only other fruits that have been examined to date are bananas and pineapples, and both have comparatively low melatonin levels. "Tart cherry juice concentrate, which involves greatly reducing the water content, has ten times the melatonin of the raw fruit." (1)

Produced in the pineal gland at the base of the brain, melatonin controls sleepiness at night, wakefulness in daytime and functions as an antioxidant to help the body destroy free radicals.(2) Recent research conducted by Dr. Reiter at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas, quantified the availability and activity of melatonin found in tart cherry products. The results were astonishing. Cherries contain an extremely significant quantity of melatonin, enough to produce positive results in the body.

Montmorency cherries, which account for the majority of tart cherries produced in the United States, contain up to 13.5 nanograms (ng) of melatonin per gram of cherries, more than is normally found in the blood.(3)

Dr. Russel Reiter began his distinguished career more than 30 years ago in neuroendocrinology, the study of the glands and hormones of the brain. A year earlier, in 1958, a dermatologist named Aaron Lerner at Yale University discovered the existence of melatonin. (4) Today, Dr. Reiter is the preeminent scientist on melatonin and the advantageous effects it has on human health and well-being. Dr. Reiter has authored or co-authored more than 700 papers in his field, trained over 130 doctorates, and is the author of the book Melatonin, published by Bantam Books. His peers consider him the "dean of melatonin research".

One of the main areas on which Dr. Reiter focused in his recent work addresses a common consumer concern, which is, "will the melatonin present in cherries actually increase melatonin levels in the body favorably?" Melatonin is by far the most potent of the antioxidants, much more so than vitamins C, E and A. The reason: melatonin is soluble both in fat and water and can therefore enter some cells that vitamins cannot. For example, vitamin E is soluble in the lipid part of the cell only and vitamin C in the aqueous part. Melatonin is soluble in both. For this reason, Dr. Reiter says, eating cherries with high melatonin concentrations will increase the antioxidant capacity in the body.

Although melatonin is available as a supplement and can be purchased without a prescription, Dr. Reiter and other health experts extol the benefits of consuming melatonin through food consumption. Not only do many foods provide beneficial antioxidants and similar compounds, they are often found in foods that provide a variety of health benefits. The tart cherry may, one day, be classified as a functional food, but they also offer consumers great flavor, versatility and nutrition.

(1) Echlin, Bill. 2001 "Dr. Cherry" has tart cherry growers on the mend. Traverse City Record-Eagle. July 15, p.2B
(2) National Sleep foundation. 2001 Melatonin: The Facts. Washington, DC.
(3) Burkhardt, Tan, et al, Detection and Quantification of Antioxidant Melatonin in Montmorency Tart Cherries and tart cherry research. Journal of American Chemical Society 49, 4898-4902.
(4) Redman, J., e al, Science, 1983, 219, 1089-91.

If You're Looking for Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate, You Can't Afford to Miss This...

Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate

It takes approximately 100 cherries to make just one ounce of Fruit Advantage tart cherry juice concentrate. This is a 100% cherry juice drink.

The good news about Montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate continues to be published. In addition to an impressive ORAC unit value, tart cherry juice may also help maintain maintain healthy joints*, support a healthy cardiovascular system* and relieve muscle soreness due to physical exercise*.

Fruit Advantage 100% pure Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice is available from Traverse Bay Farms located in Northern Michigan. The Montmorency tart cherries used to make Fruit Advantage Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate are from Northern Michigan cherry farms.

Fruit Advantage has captured this amazing ruby red fruit and bottled it into a simple to enjoy a healthy cherry juice drink. It takes approximately 100 tart cherries to make just one ounce of Fruit Advantage Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate.

Click here to learn more about Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate.

Also frozen Montmorency tart cherries rank under 55 on the Glycemic Index scale. This is another reason to enjoy a glass of Fruit Advantage Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate today!

Frozen Montmorency Tart Cherries
are a low "Glycemic Index" food

Common carbohydrate foods and their GI classification

Low GI
Less than 55
Medium GI
56 - 69
High GI
70 - 100
Pumpernickel whole grain Pita Bread White Bread
100% whole grain Stone ground whole wheat Bagels
Dark multi-grain Rye crispbread Rice cakes
Montmorency Tart Cherries (frozen) Fruit cocktail Watermelon
Apricots Dried figs Dates
Pears Banana (very ripe) Strawberry fruit bar
Oranges Peaches canned in syrup Fruit leathers (various)
Peaches Cantaloupe
Green and red lentils Baked Beans
White beans Split pea soup
Chick peas Black beans
Sweet corn Beets Parsnips
Peas Sweet potato Mashed potatoes
Asparagus White baked potato French Fries
Cereal Grains
Barley Basmatic rice Instant rice
Bulgar Couscous Popcorn, plain
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Montmorency Cherry Juice Free Shipping

Click Here to Order Montmorency Tart Cherry

Here is a list of list of some different apple farms, cherry farms, etc. located in Northern Michigan. You will need to contact each farm to determine if they offer you-pick tart cherries, cherry orchard tours and more.

  • Hoxsie Orchards - Acme
  • Bardenhagen Farms - Suttons Bay
  • Anderson's Cherry Farms - Leelanau

Here is a list of farm markets that sells farm products and cherry products:

  • Traverse Bay Farms - Bellaire


Buy Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate from Traverse Bay Farms