Cherry orchards and Flathead Lake go together like motherhood and apple pie. Cherries thrive along the shores of the largest fresh-water lake in the United States west of the Mississippi. The combination of a northern climate and winter temperatures moderated by a huge water body, provide ideal growing conditions for many varities of cherries. Some orchards also grow peaches, plums, apples and pears.- but cherries are king. In late spring the masses of fluffy pinkish-white blossoms glow on a backdrop of blue waters and snow-capped peaks. By July the tree branches are heavy with glistening red fruit.
Best Places to Go:
Roadside stands do a brisk business throughout the harvest. Although there are some orchards on the west shore, the larger operations and most of the fruit stands can be found on the east shore. A few orchards offer a "pick-your-own" option. Several orchards practice natural or organic farming methods.
Best Times to Go:
May for blossoms, July for fruit.
What You Should Know Before You Go:
Before early July, fruit sold at stands is likely from out-of-state. Wait for the local harvest for the best fruit.
Highway 35 winds down the east shore from Bigfork to Ploson, Highway 93 wanders up the west shore from Polson to Somers.