TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Phil Rowley, a Utah County-based tart cherry grower and industry pioneer was named the 2023 “Cherry Industry Person of the Year” for his significant contributions to the U.S. cherry industry. Phil and three of his sons (Marc, Scot & Rhet) traveled to Traverse City, Michigan to accept the award in person at the National Cherry Festival Industry Day celebration. 

“It was exciting to learn Phil was chosen for this great honor, he is very deserving," said Julie Gordon, President of the Cherry Marketing Institute. "Phil is a great grower, innovator, leader and mentor who has used his extraordinary talents for the greater good of the cherry industry.”

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s times were lean and cherry prices were low. This forced Phil to become an innovator and allowed him to be creative in finding new ways to add value to the products he grew. Phil played a key role in developing a cutting-edge cherry drying process which created one of the most sought-after tart cherry products on the market today.

Phil’s family has been devoted to growing fruit since 1913. He started Rowley’s South Ridge Farms in 1984 with his sons, and today they farm over 900 acres. In 1999 they opened Rowley’s Red Barn (retail store) which quickly became known for their delicious fresh fruit, homemade ice cream, scratch bakery and an array of cherry products that is now an iconic landmark in the region.

The Cherry Marketing Institute is located in Dewitt, Michigan and works to increase the sales and use of cherries by expanding the market domestically and globally.