Michigan Cherry Season

The first thing to say about this cherry season is that at least it’s better than last year. The drought last summer coupled with the Mother’s Day night freeze has lead to a smaller than average crop of Michigan cherries in many places this year. Now we have had too much rain recently which is causing the cherries to crack and the flavor to be diluted. Maybe next year we will get it right!

A lot of places are offering limited or no u-pick. But there is still a chance to get out and pick your own cherries this year. Here is the information you need about various orchards across the state. If you are not going to go out and pick yourself, check your local farmer’s market or some retailers. Whole Foods Market in Michigan is carrying sweet cherries from Sparta, MI and the Produce Station in Ann Arbor has sweet, tart, and Rainier cherries from Eau Claire.

(1) Kapnick Orchards in Britton did not have a large enough crop to offer u-pick this year. They are selling their cherries at farmer’s markets they go to, both sweet and tart. For more information, call 877-450-6096.

(2) Wasem Fruit Farm in Milan lost most of their cherry crop. What they had was quickly sold out via pre-orders and with some limited supply for the Ann Arbor Farmer’s market.

(3) Frank Farms in Berrien Center was offering u-pick tart cherries, but quickly ran out. They still have already picked cherries available for purchase. They also offer free pitting. For more info, call (269) 461-4125.

(4) Erwin Orchards are located in South Lyon on Silver Lake Road. Their u-pick began on Saturday, July 6th 2013. They have sweet cherries for picking ($4 per pound). They are open daily 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM while supplies last. For more info call 248-437-4701.

(5) Corey Lake Orchards in Three Rivers had a small crop of cherries this year, so they ran out quickly.

(6) Fruit Acres Farm in Coloma ran out of sweet cherries quickly, but they do have plenty of tart cherries to pick through July 14th. The price per pound is $1.29. For more info call (269) 208-3591.

(7) Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire : Sweet cherries are finished for the year but the sour ones are still available and the picking is easy. They also offer a pitting machine, so you can pit your cherries before you head home. For more info, call 269-782-7101.

(8) Lehman’s Orchard in Niles has sour cherries available for picking. For more info, call 269-683-9078.

(9) Farmer White’s in Williamsburg has cherries availble for the picking. For more info call (231) 632-1500.

(10) King Orchards in Kewadin, here is the info from their website: “Sweet cherries: We are now hoping that the sweet cherries will get started around July 5. Usually we have them in the market for a few days before they are ready at the u-pick farm. This is one of our heaviest sweet crops ever. We have several varieties of sweets so that they should be available for 2-3 weeks.Tart cherries: Tart cherries have a very heavy fruit set and we are excited for this very large crop. We expect that they will start around July 13, and they will be available for 3 weeks or so. We will have u-pick at both farm markets, and at the M88 market we will have a pitter available to pit the cherries you picked yourself. This should be a great tart cherry year. will begin picking sweet cherries on July 12th and sour cherries on July 18th. For more info, call 877-937-5464.

(11) North Star Organics in Frankfort has Organic Black and Gold Sweets and Montmorency Tart Cherries. They anticipate u-pick beginning Friday, July 19th and finishing on Sunday July 28th. For more info, call (231) 352-4865.

(12) Santucci Farm in Traverse City are open daily for sweet cherry picking now, with tart cherries come shortly. For more info, call (517) 974-7233.

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Michigan Strawberries 2013

The Picking Has Begun

It’s finally time. After a long wait for Michigan grown fruit which seems even longer because of how bad last year’s fruit season one, Michigan strawberry season is upon us. The timing this year has been pretty normal, compared to last year when the season started Memorial Day weekend. The temperature and rainfall this spring has been wonderful for the crops. A bountiful harvest awaits you. Time to get out in the field and start picking. Or if you are unable to you can buy strawberries at road side stands or at some select retailers such as Whole Foods Market and the Produce Station in Ann Arbor. Keep in mind the season goes back fast and so do the supplies in stores so it’s always good to call ahead whether you going to the store or directly to the farm. I know that the Whole Foods in Ann Arbor sold out of their first shipment in less than 24 hours!

Make sure to like my u-pick facebook page to receive updates on all kinds of Michigan u-pick fruit news throughout the year.

Here is a list of some farms that are offering u-pick. This info is coming directly from the farms.

Rowe’s Produce Farm (Ypsilanti, MI) | Read about my experience from June 2010
Picking began SATURDAY, JUNE 8TH
The price of the strawberries is $1.78 per pound and they still furnish the containers for FREE.
Hours are 7 am to 8 pm daily. (ripe berries and weather permitting)
Call the farm at 734-482-8538 for the most current picking info.

Whittaker Berry Farm (Ida, MI) | Read my experience from June 2011
Picking began SATURDAY, JUNE 8TH
The price is $1.42/lb. u-pick, containers are free. Already picked berries will be available beginning Monday, June 10th, fresh off the vine for $3.25/qt.
Farm hours are 8am-8pm Monday-Friday, and 8am-5pm Saturday & Sunday.

Frank Farms (Berrien Center, MI) | Check out their facebook page
Picking begins SATURDAY, JUNE 15TH
Price this year will be $1.25 per pound, which is the same as last year!
They will be open everyday 7am – 7pm

Harvey’s Farm (Tekonsha, MI) | Check out their facebook page
Picking began THURSDAY, JUNE 6TH
Open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Prices for u-pick $1.75 per quart and already picked berries are $3.75 per quart. or $22.00 for a ten pound box (6.5 to 7 qrts).
For already picked berries call (517) 767-3408 for orders.
For pick your own customers bring mosquito repellant.
Pick in their quart boxes, bring something to take berries home in.

DeGroots Strawberry Farm (Gregory, MI) | Check out their facebook page
They expect to begin picking sometime after Father’s Day.

Organic Michigan Strawberries KlineKrest USDA Certified Organic Produce Farm (Lyons, MI) | Check out their website
Picking begins SATURDAY, JUNE 17TH
They will have a very limited supply of organic strawberries for picking. Call 616.902.1587 or 989.855.2536; Larry or Bea Kline

Visser Farms (Zeeland, MI) | Check out their facebook page
Picking began on TUESDAY, JUNE 11TH
Their hours are Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-5pm, Sunday Closed
The price per pound is $1.65/lb

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Michigan Fruit Report

I am very passionate about local produce. There is nothing like getting a piece of ripe fruit in season grown close by. The flavors and variety cannot be beat. That is why I closely follow the fruit crops here in Michigan. I was been concerned since late last week that we could be in for some damage to the tree crops with a frost warning in place for the early hours of Monday, May 13th, 2013. This morning I decided to share with you what local farms are saying on their facebook pages about the damage. It’s been good news/bad news this morning. Some places at least stayed above 30 degrees including the biggest apple growing fruit ridge on the west side of the state (see report from MLive). However I have read reports of significant damages being done.

Facebook Quotes

Middleton Berry Farm (Ortonville, MI) | Facebook page
We ran the irrigation all night to protect the strawberries from frost damage. Picking season will probably start sometime in mid-June.”

Bixby Orchards (Berrien Springs, MI) | Facebook page
“Thank you to everyone who prayed for us last night! As of this point we think everything looks ok, but it’s still a little to early to tell. The temps stayed right at 32, which is much better than forecasted! We did run irrigation on strawberries all night, so a nap will be in order for Bryan today!”

On their apricot trees”…very happy to have made it thru the night with no freezing temps! So far everything looks ok here!”

Frozen strawberry plants

Whittaker’s Berry Farm (Ida, MI) | Facebook page | My visit to this farm
“Brrr! If you came to the farm this morning, this is what you’d see! With ground temps. dipping to 22 degrees we irrigated our berries all night. By irrigating at these temps. the berries become covered and insulated in a layer of ice-keeping them at a steady 32degrees, and protecting tender new buds and blossoms from any frost damage. It’s a beautiful and amazing sight! We’re now approximately 30 days from harvest. See you in a few short weeks!”

Sietsema Orchards & Cider Mill (Ada, MI) | Facebook page
“RIP 2013 apple crop. 27 degrees pretty much did the whole crop in last night. Good news for the apple community in Michigan is that initial report is showing Sparta “the ridge” only got down to 30.8 degrees”

Seedling Fruit (South Haven, MI) | Facebook page
“Well, it got cold…we dipped below freezing for a bit. Now we wait…will start checking buds later today….hopefully not too bad though.”

Nye’s Apple Barn (St. Joesph, MI) | Facebook page
“It appears that the damage from last night will be (hopefully) minimal. It is still too early to tell, we won’t really know for a few weeks. We are hoping that the only damage will be to the lower branches.”

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As many of you know by now, the early warm March temperatures combined with several April freezes has damaged much of the tree fruit crop in Michigan. One of the saddest of these is apples. Every fall people flow to apple orchards across the state, but now this year many will go without their usual cider and donuts. The Detroit Free Press said that Michigan normally averages a harvest of 25 million bushels a year. In 2012, the estimated crop is a very poor 3 million bushels. That’s staggering!

You might be asking, “Are there any places that will still be able to offer u-pick this year?” This page will keep track of those places. Your best bet is to call these places to confirm before you head out. I will also include at the bottom of the page those farms that I can confirm will have no u-pick apples this fall.

Make sure to like my u-pick facebook page to receive updates on all kinds of Michigan u-pick fruit news throughout the year.

Expected to have u-pick this year:
1. Blake Farms (Armada, MI) is NOW open for u-pick. They have ginger gold, an early McIntosh variety, and Paula Red apples. They have decided this year to buy apples for cider and save what they have on their trees for u-pick and sales.
2. Spicer Orchard (Fenton, MI) may have some u-pick apples, but they will be on the light side and scattered.
3. Whittier Fruit Farm (Rochester, MI) will offer a limited amount of u-pick apples on weekends only. It will only be with some varieties, and they may run out before the weekend is over. Best to call ahead (585-594-9054)
4. Erie Orchards (Erie, MI) will have u-pick apples available.
5. Big Dan’s U-Pick and Farm Market (Hartford, MI) will only have u-pick during the 3rd & 4th week of September and only Golden Delicious and Jonagold apples.
6. Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm (Eau Claire, MI) lost half of their apple crop, yet they still have a crop available for u-pickers. Contact them for more information.

Will not be offering u-pick this year:
1. Wasem Fruit Farm (Milan, MI) has a 100% crop loss, but are still planning fall activities.
2. Kapnick Orchards (Britton, MI)
3. Fruit Acres Farm (Coloma, MI)
4. Erwin Orchards (South Lyon, MI) has a 100% crop loss. They will be buying apples to make cider.
5. Long Family Orchard & Cider Mill (Commerce Township, MI)
6. Miller’s Big Red (Washington, MI)
7. Stony Creek Orchard & Cider Mill (Romeo, MI) still has pre-picked apples available in limited quantities.
8. Clearview Orchards (Haslett, MI) still has pre-picked apples.

Here are some apple related kitchen tools I recommend:
Amco Dial-A-Slice Adjustable Apple Corer and Slicer : Allows you to slice apples into either 8 or 16 pieces
Zyliss Soft Skin Peeler : The best peeler I have ever owned. Does a great job peeling an apple.
Mirro Foley 2-Quart Stainless Steel Food Mill : A great tool for making your own applesauce. You can make the sauce without having to do any peeling.

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Question: Can You Still Buy or Pick Michigan Cherries in 2012?

Answer: Many of you may now by now that a major crop loss was experienced in Michigan, unlike anything ever seen by most farmers I have talked to. A really mild winter, followed by record high heat in March, caused the blossoms of fruit trees to blossom super early. Then in April several freezes according including down to 24 degrees. Everyone experienced loss, it’s just a matter of how much. Some farms lost everything. But there are some places that still have some fruit to offer this year. Cherry season is going on right now. I have a list of some places that some cherries, even for u-pick. If you have the chance, hurry because supplies are very limited. We are lucky to have anything this year.

Santucci Farm | Traverse City | Click here for their facebook page
Will have u-pick sweet cherries available starting Monday, June 25th

Kapnick Orchards | Britton | Click here for their facebook page
Had sweet cherries to sell at the farmer’s markets around Ann Arbor, probably all out now. They will have a limited supply of tart cherries this week (Monday, June 18th)

Fruit Acres Farm Market & U-Pick | Coloma | Click here for their facebook page
They have some sweet and tart cherries this year, but nothing available for u-pick. The cherries they have are located at the top of the trees, not exactly u-picker friendly.

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After one of the craziest winters and springs weather wise ever, the first fruit of the season from the Great Lakes States is ripe for the picking. Many u-picks farms are reporting they are planting to open for strawberry season on Memorial Day or close to it. Strawberry season is short, usually lasting no more than 3 weeks, so if you plan to do some picking, get your plans in order.

Make sure to like my u-pick facebook page to receive updates on all kinds of Michigan u-pick fruit news throughout the year.

Here is a list of some farms that are offering u-pick. This info is coming directly from the farms.

Rowe’s Produce Farm (Ypsilanti, MI) | Read about my experience from June 2010
Picking starts MONDAY MAY 28TH !
Memorial day hours : 7 AM TO 5 PM
The price of the strawberries is $1.64 per pound (the containers are FREE)
Normal hours are 7 am to 8 pm daily. (ripe berries and weather permitting)

Whittaker Berry Farm (Ida, MI) | Read my experience from June 2011
Picking starts MONDAY, MAY 28TH, 8:00am-8:00pm.
The berries being picked Monday are called Honeoye
The price is $1.30/lb (containers are free).
Already picked berries will also be available fresh off the vine for $3.25/qt.
Upon opening Monday, farm hours will be: Monday-Friday 8:00am-8:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 8:00am-5:00pm.
Season should last 18-21 days..WEATHER DEPENDENT!

Frank Farms (Berrien Center, MI) | Check out their facebook page
Strawberry U-Pick start will open on May 31st at 7am. Price this year will be $1.25 per pound

Harvey’s Farm (Tekonsha, MI) | Check out their facebook page
Open all Memorial Day weekend. Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 pm. and Sunday and Monday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m

DeGroots Strawberry Farm (Gregory, MI) | Check out their facebook page
They expect to begin picking the 2nd week of June.

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It’s that time again. Time to pick those precious little blue bundles of joy – blueberries! Farm across the state are beginning to offer u-pick on their berries. The really hot weather as of late will help the berries to ripen quickly, but it may also mean for a shorter season. I will try and update you will info each week on the status of the crops.

1. Dexter Blueberry Farm (located to the west of Ann Arbor & downtown Dexter) is open for the season. They say the picking conditions are GOOD. They sell for $1.60 a pound. I picked there on last year. Click here to read about my experience.

2. Czaika’s Blueberry Farm in Tawas City as of July 17th, the berries were still green. They haven’t announced a start date yet, stay tuned. They are charging $1.00 per pound (that’s cheap!) If you wish to reach them you can call them at (989) 326-4638

3. Croswell Berry Farm in Croswell (6 miles west of Lexington) should be open soon. Call 810-679-3273 for crop conditions before coming.

4. Spicer Orchards in Fenton are now picking blueberries (as well as raspberries) For crop updates call (810) 632-7692.

5. Erie Orchards in Erie has blueberries for u-pick for $2.50 per pound. For more information you can call them at 734-848-4518.

6. Sandy Acres Blueberry Farm in Belleville offers u-pick, but I do not have any further info at this time. You can contact them at 734-657-2828.

7. Buchan’s Blueberry Hill in Traverse City will be opening around the end of July/early August. You can reach them at 231-223-4846.

8. Woodland Berry Farms in Zeeland has u-pick berries available now for $1.35/lb. For more information call them at (616) 875-8853.

9. Jones Berry Farm in Bridgman is open for u-pick. Their hours are 10am-4pm Sunday, closed Mon-Wed, and 9am-6pm on Thurs-Sat. For more info call (269) 465-4745.

10. Rambo Blueberries located in Bridgman is NOW open. Please call ahead to check on the crop, their phone number is (269) 426-4074.

11. Hazen’s Farm in Howell is NOW open for the season. For more information call 517-548-1841.

12. Harvey’s Farm in Tekonsha OPEN for picking. The cost is $1.50/lb. Their phone number is 517-767-3408.

13. DeGrandchamp’s Blueberry Farm in South Haven is OPEN for the season. Click here for their website. Their phone number is (269) 637-3915.

14. Kendall’s Blueberries in Hastings (about 50 miles southwest of Lansing) has u-pick berries, but you need to call ahead as they may be closed for a couple days for ripening. If you wish to contact them, their phone number is 269-945-3735.

15. Kapnick Orchards in Britton (close by to Adrian and Tecumseh) is opening on July 22 for u-pick. The cost will be $2.25/lb. Their phone number is 517-423-7419.

Looking for a way to use up some blueberries. Check out my recipe for homemade blueberry lemonade. It’s delicious!

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I have been anticipating picking cherries at Wasem Fruit Farm ever since I visited the farm when the cherry trees were blooming. That was a pretty sight, but not as beautiful as seeing ripe red cherries hanging around waiting to be picked. I headed to Wasem for picking on Friday, July 8th, 2011. It was a good day to come. I was able to pick over 7 pounds of cherries without the use of a ladder (although they do have ladders available to reach the higher up cherries.) Even my 3 year old daughter was able to reach some cherries to put into her little bucket. Buckets are available for you to use while you are picking cherries, but you will need to bring containers to take your cherries home. Also they have a table where you can pit your cherries with a hand crank pitter, once you have paid for them. I decided to wait to pit my cherries on my own, since when you pit them you need to use them up quickly. The pits are pretty easy to remove by hand, much easier than the other varieties of cherries I have pitted this year.

Wasem grows two varieites of sour/tart cherries: Montmorency and Balatan. I picked the Montmorency variety. They were tart, but if you enjoy tart things you certainly could eat them straight up. The cost is $1.50 per pound with a minimum charge of 5 pounds. They also offer u-pick on red and black currants, as well as red and green gooseberries. I decided to pick a pound of red currants to give them a try. There weren’t many gooseberries left when I arrived. Also during the fall, they are a great place to go and pick apples, which I have done several years in a row.

Wasem Fruit Farm is located at 6580 Judd Road, Milan, MI 48160. Their phone number is 734-482-2342. Click here for their website or facebook page.


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Michigan U-Pick Cherries

UPDATE: Check out my report on the 2013 Michigan Cherry Crop

Have you had a chance to get out and pick some cherries yet? I got to pick some at Wasem Fruit Farm this past Friday. The picking was great. A lot of farm from north to south in Michigan are also reporting great picking. Here is some updates from a few of those farms.

(1) Wasem Fruit Farm in Milan still has plenty of Montmorency sour cherries to pick . Call 734-482-2342 for more information.

(2) Frank Farms in Berrien Center still has tart cherries available, but they are all pretty much high on the trees. You are bring your own ladder to pick what is left. The cost is $1/lb or $1.75 for pre-picked. They are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. They will provide containers for you to pick in. They also offer free pitting. For picking conditions, call (269) 461-4125.

(3) Erwin Orchards are located in South Lyon on Silver Lake Road for more info call 248-437-4701.

(4) Fruit Acres Farm in Coloma has both sweet cherries and sour cherries. For more info call (269) 208-3591.

(5) Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire may still have some sour cherries available, they are out of sweet cherries. They offer a pitting machine, so you can pit your cherries before you head home. For more info, call 269-782-7101.

(6) Lehman’s Orchard in Niles has sour cherries available for picking. For more info, call 269-683-9078.

(7) Farmer White’s in Williamsburg has u-pick cherries. For more info call (231) 632-1500.

(9) King Orchards in Kewadin has u-pick sweet cherries now and sour cherries on July 18th. For more info, call 877-937-5464.

(10) Rennie Orchards in Williamsburg is NOW picking both sweet and sour cherries. For more info, call (231) 264-8387.

(12) North Star Organics in Frankfort will have certified organic u-pick cherries (sweet starting July 20th, and sour from July 23rd to 30th). The sweet cherries may long last a day or two, so hurry in fast. For more info, call (231) 352-4865.

(13) Santucci Farm in Traverse City will opening again for u-pick on Thursday, July 14th. They have both sweet and tart cherries. They expect to begin harvesting their black cherries on Sunday, July 17th. For more info, call (517) 974-7233.

Closed for U-Pick for the Season

(1) Kapnick Orchards in Britton is picked out of u-pick cherries for the season. You can still buy already picked cherries. For more information, call 877-450-6096.

(2) Corey Lake Orchards in Three Rivers is out of cherries, but they have lots of other great fruit available now.

Other Sources for Michigan Cherries
(1) Schultz Fruitridge Farms in Mattawan will have sweet and tart cherries available for purchase shortly.

(2) Gallagher’s Farm Market in Traverse City will be selling tart and sweet cherries this year. Call (231) 947-1689 for more info.

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Michigan U-Pick Cherries

UPDATE: Check out my report on the 2013 Michigan Cherry Crop

It’s time! Time to pick cherries! Farms across the state of Michigan are open for u-pick. But you need not wait. Some places that don’t have a lot of u-pick trees are already picked out. The picking conditions seem to vary alot and they aren’t just depend on how far north or south a farm is.

(1) Kapnick Orchards in Britton is picked out of u-pick cherries for the season. You can still buy already picked cherries. For more information, call 877-450-6096.

(2) Wasem Fruit Farm in Milan are opening for u-pick sour/tart cherries on Thursday, July 6th. They are open from 9am to 6pm daily (except Wednesdays). They grow Montmorency and Balatan cherries. Call 734-482-2342 for more information. They also offer u-pick on currants and gooseberries around the same time as the cherries.

(3) Frank Farms in Berrien Center are NOW picking tart cherries. They are open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The price is $1.00 a pound and they will provide containers for you to pick in. They also offer free pitting. For picking conditions, call (269) 461-4125.

(4) Erwin Orchards are located in South Lyon on Silver Lake Road will have u-pick sweet cherries, starting today. For more info call 248-437-4701.

(5) Corey Lake Orchards in Three Rivers are NOW picking sour cherries.

(6) Fruit Acres Farm in Coloma will have sweet cherries NOW and sour cherries starting July 8th. For more info call (269) 208-3591.

(7) Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire has over 15 varieties of Sweet Cherries starting in mid-June with Cavalier and Viva, then Hartland, Sam, Rainier,Schmidt, Ulster, Royalton, Bing, Lapins, Hedelfingen, and more. Tart cherry harvest begins in July with Montmorency, and continues with the Balaton, Surefire, North star, and Meteor. Sweet cherries are finished for the year but the sour ones are still available. They also offer a pitting machine, so you can pit your cherries before you head home. For more info, call 269-782-7101.

(8) Lehman’s Orchard in Niles NOW has sour cherries available for picking. For more info, call 269-683-9078.

(9) Farmer White’s in Williamsburg is just about ready to start offering picking. For exact start day, call (231) 632-1500.

(10) King Orchards in Kewadin will begin picking sweet cherries on July 12th and sour cherries on July 18th. For more info, call 877-937-5464.

(11) Rennie Orchards in Williamsburg is NOW picking both sweet and sour cherries. For more info, call (231) 264-8387.

(12) North Star Organics in Frankfort will have certified organic u-pick cherries (sweet starting July 20th, and sour from July 23rd to 30th). The sweet cherries may long last a day or two, so hurry in fast. For more info, call (231) 352-4865.

(13) Santucci Farm in Traverse City will open for u-pick for one day, Sunday, July 10th. They will then open for the rest of the season on Thursday, July 14th. They have both sweet and tart cherries. For more info, call (517) 974-7233.

Other Sources for Michigan Cherries
(1) Schultz Fruitridge Farms in Mattawan will have sweet and tart cherries available for purchase shortly.

(2) Gallagher’s Farm Market in Traverse City will be selling tart and sweet cherries this year. Call (231) 947-1689 for more info.

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WELCOME TO MY BLOG

I'm Eric. I live in Ann Arbor, MI with my wife, 3 kids, and a flock of ducks. I love grocery shopping, trying new fruits, farmer's market, and traveling.
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