Climate change is already hurting Michigan’s cherry, apple crops — and it could get worse

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Juliette King McAvoy’s family built a fruit empire in what might seem an unlikely place.

McAvoy’s father and mother, John and Betsy King, founded King Orchards in 1980 with John’s brother, James, and his wife, Rose. They farm about 250 acres of cherries, apples and other fruits and vegetables around Torch Lake in Antrim County.

Northwest lower Michigan, with its frigid, snowy winters, doesn’t sound like a place where cherries and apples would thrive. But Michigan grows 70% of America’s tart cherries, and is the third-largest apple producer in the U.S., mostly along the state’s western shore.