Marc Santucci’s Facebook post said it all: “We have to dump 14% of our tart cherry crop on the ground to rot. Why? So we can allow the import of 200 million pounds of cherries from overseas! It just doesn’t seem right.” It had all of the elements of tugging on the emotional, financial, and logical heartstrings of the reader.
Nearly 60,000 shares later and 8,000 comments, many people are rallying behind Santucci, owner of the 80-acre Santucci Farm in Traverse City, Michigan. The state is one of the national leaders in tart cherry production, and Santucci said he has people willing to buy them. But he claims that because of an industry marketing agreement put in place to create price stability, he said he has to let a portion of his crop go. “These cherries are beautiful!” he said in the Facebook post.
The Detroit Free Press reported that tart cherries are one of the most volatile crops grown in the U.S. and that the reason for Santucci having to waste so much of his product was because of an agreement that growers and processors opted into in 1995, which is tied to the federal Agricultural Agreement Act of 1937.
Dumping cherries on the ground is not something any farmer wants to do, but for whatever reason, it does have to happen from time to time.