The National Cherry Festival teaches us that the early settlers brought cherries to America in the 1600s, and modern cherry production began in the mid-1800s. This fact means that Americans have been enjoying the sweet/tart flavor of the cherry fruit for hundreds of years.
The red-stemmed fruit was first planted in Michigan state in 1852 by Peter Dougherty. The weather near Lake Michigan proved perfect for growing cherry trees due to the lake's effect on Arctic winds and the summer heat. According to the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development, the state produces 70% of tart cherries in the U.S. each year.
Michigan is the top US cherry-producing state, followed by Oregon and Washington, according to National Cherry Festival. The USDA claims that Michigan's tart cherry production was up by 39% from 2020, citing 96.6 million pounds of production in 2021. The USDA further lists Oregon's sweet cherry production as 45,540 tons in 2021 and Washington's output totaling 231,650 tons in 2021.
The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center tells us that US sweet cherry production in 2020 was at 265,820 tons. In 2021, this number heightened to 378.3 thousand tons, as listed on Statista.