Very Cherry!

by Marla on July 31, 2013 · 51 comments

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Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Most of you know by now that I have been on a dozen airplanes in just one week. We won’t count the shuttle buses & cabs that catapulted me around the country.

My first stop was Traverse City. Michigan. I was invited by the fabulous folks at The Cherry Marketing Institute to learn about their tart cherry harvest.

I am crazy in love with cherries so I couldn’t refuse. Have you ever had tart cherries? I could eat them by the barrel, really.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

This trip to coastal Northern Michigan was a photographer & foodies dream.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Traverse City is a well known summer vacation spot. It is a beautiful part of our country.

You can boat, paddle board and swim in Lake Michigan

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

You can also check out the Traverse City Film Festival.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

There are plenty of places to create family memories.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Also lots of tart cherry orchards.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

My pal Maureen (Rose Water & Orange Blossoms) was also on the trip.

She lives nearby that part of Michigan and says it is splendid all times of the year.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan | FamilyFreshCooking.com

We enjoyed fabulous dining & guess what ingredient was the super star? You got it tart cherries

Flowers were beautifully arranged with them…

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Tart cherries a a bit different from their sweeter siblings. Northern Michigan is the largest grower of them. They burst with flavor!

Cocktails were mixed & garnished with them…

Cherry Martini | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Salad was dressed with them…

Goat Cheese, Cherry Salad | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Meat was sauced with them…

Tenderloin with Cherry Sauce | Traverse City, Michigan | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Desserts were flavored with them…

Tart Cherry Creme Brûlée | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Pie was astonishing with them…

Tart Cherry Pie | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

BBQ was phenomenal with cherries in the sauce!

BBQ  | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

I even had the servers bring me huge cups full of frozen tart cherries to indulge in as I waited for my meal.

Cherry Lemonade is a treat!

Cherry Lemonade | Traverse City, Michigan | FamilyFreshCooking.com

As are Cherry Oatmeal Cookies…

Cherry Oatmeal Cookies | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

There is lots ‘n lots of tart cherry research going on these days.

These gems are known to have lots of health benefits. On our trip were quite a few nutritionists boasting proudly about the attributes.

This is the fabulous Wendy Bazilian. She taught us lots about tart cherries.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan | FamilyFreshCooking.com

 The cherries we learned most about were the  Montmorency & Balaton varieties.

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

The orchards were sun dappled & stunning!

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan | FamilyFreshCooking.com

 I even snuck in a selfie…

Tart Cherry Harvest Trip | Traverse City, Michigan  | FamilyFreshCooking.com

Stay tuned for recipe creations I will share using tart cherries!

Disclaimer: A great big thank you to the The Cherry Marketing Institute for hosting me to attend this experience.

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lori @ RecipeGirl July 31, 2013 at 7:00 am

Looks wonderful. I have to say that I’m not all that familiar with tart cherries, so you’ll have to educate me! Did you see my post on 100 Cherry Recipes? I’ve been loving them this summer too :)

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2 Marla July 31, 2013 at 9:21 am

Oh Lori…that sounds like a great post!! I’ll check it out now :)

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3 Kristen July 31, 2013 at 7:11 am

Michigan is so beautiful – what a great experience you had!

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4 Liz @ The Lemon Bowl July 31, 2013 at 7:13 am

So glad you got to enjoy my beautiful state!! Thank you for sharing such great photographs.

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5 Marla July 31, 2013 at 9:22 am

Hi Liz!! It truly was a wonderful experience to visit Traverse City & surrounding areas. I hope to get back there some day soon :)

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6 HeatherChristo July 31, 2013 at 7:41 am

I love cherries- what a cool day you had!

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7 Marian (Sweetopia) July 31, 2013 at 7:47 am

Gorgeous pics, Marla! Hope you’re getting some rest, too! ;-D

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8 Rosa July 31, 2013 at 7:48 am

Cherry paradise! Lovely clicks and mouthwatering food.

Cheers,

Rosa

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9 Marla July 31, 2013 at 9:22 am

Paradise indeed….you would have had a blast with the subject & delightful bites Rosa!

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10 Heather July 31, 2013 at 7:57 am

I was just in the cherry orchards before they were about to harvest those beautiful tart cherries and I really couldn’t eat enough of them! Straight from the source?! YES PLEASE!

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11 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Heather..that’s so cool! I really wish I had constant access to those tart cherries :)

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12 Gaby July 31, 2013 at 8:49 am

woot woot! so fun spending a few days with ya in Michigan!

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13 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Het girl! It was a total blast spending time with you in Michigan!!

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14 Maureen Abood July 31, 2013 at 8:49 am

Marla, you captured our corner of the country SO beautifully!! Amazing photography of all things cherry and Michigan Up North. And for me the cherry on top was meeting you. Looking forward to your recipes with more cherry-love.

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15 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Awwwwww…Maureen, you are such a sweetheart! It was wonderful to meet you too. Looking forward to staying in touch and hopefully meeting up again some day real soon!

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16 Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking July 31, 2013 at 8:49 am

Wow, what a wonderful experience! I’m so inspired now to use cherries in ways that I never thought before. Love that centerpiece! Thanks for sharing, Marla.

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17 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Hey Georgia….isn’t that centerpiece fantastic!! Oh were those cherries fun!

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18 Julie @ Table for Two July 31, 2013 at 8:56 am

tart cherries! that must’ve been so fun to go through their harvest field. can’t wait for the recipe!

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19 Teawench July 31, 2013 at 9:30 am

I love love love cherries. I’ve been wanting to go to the cherry festival in Traverse, MI for years. I can’t wait to see what you do with them.

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20 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm

We did not get to go to the festival, but I hear it is wonderful! I can’t wait to share tart cherry recipes with you guys. I have some great ideas!

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21 Sarah July 31, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Lovely article on such a beautiful place! I hate to say it, but I live in Traverse City and recommend that you do not visit during the cherry festival. Traverse City is a much more beautiful place when the festival has gone, so I recommend mid to late July if you want to come for the tart cherries. We have some great you-pick orchards that will give you a much better experience than the festival. :) We also have a wonderful apple season and gorgeous fall colors, so October is another time that I recommend visiting. I hope you were able to check out our farmer’s market too – it’s pretty spectacular for a small town!

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22 Marla August 1, 2013 at 5:12 am

Thanks Sarah! I live in a tourist driven area as well. I am with you…I LOVE it here when it is a bit more quiet & authentic. The apple season there must be stunning!

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23 Kevin (Closet Cooking) July 31, 2013 at 9:40 am

Looks like a fun trip! I am a big fan of tart cherries!

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24 Jean July 31, 2013 at 10:56 am

What a beautiful part of the country and for me, an introduction to tart cherries. Not sure I’ve ever had them. Rosa’s right–cherry paradise indeed!

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25 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Ha! Jean, you would love it there & you would DIG those tart cherries for sure!

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26 Regan @ Healthy Aperture July 31, 2013 at 11:25 am

Gorgeous!!

It was great meeting you… an honor, really. And thanks so much for the selfie tutorial ;-)

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27 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Regan…..you are sooooooo fun girl! That selfie tutorial was a hoot. From the looks of it you got it down now. Hope to see you at another event some time really soon :)

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28 Alyssa (Everyday Maven) July 31, 2013 at 11:30 am

What a fun trip Marla! I am embarrassed to admit that we have yet to visit a cherry farm since moving to WA but now I feel inspired to do so after seeing your beautiful pictures!

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29 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Hi Alyssa, hopefully you can visit some cherry orchards again soon…such a treat!

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30 Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch July 31, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Such beautiful pictures of all that cherry goodness and a really lovely place! Cherry Heaven!!!

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31 Marla July 31, 2013 at 1:10 pm

Cherry Heaven indeed!! Robyn…you would LOVE this place :)

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32 Laura (Tutti Dolci) July 31, 2013 at 4:00 pm

I love cherries, what a fabulous trip filled with delicious eats!

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33 Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen July 31, 2013 at 4:07 pm

Oh, Marla! As a tart cherry lover, it makes me so happy knowing you were able to drink up some major tart cherry HEAVEN! The Big Lug and I are from Michigan (still have relatives living there, including some in Northern Michigan near Traverse City) and we have such fond memories surrounding tart cherries since our childhoods, like The Cherry Festival. We are tart cherry fanatics! In fact, I recently featured two tart cherry recipes, Mom’s Homemade Tart Cherry Pie Filling (do try it!) and Cherry Pie Crumble Bars, on the blog using tart Meteor cherries grown locally here in Indiana and have at least one more to post! Looking forward to your tart cherry recipe posts, Marla! xo

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34 Marla August 1, 2013 at 5:14 am

Hi Stacy! Oooooo i must check out your cherry recipes they sound wonderful! Feel free to share the links to those in a comment so people can visit :)

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35 Kathy @ Food Wine Thyme July 31, 2013 at 7:13 pm

So beautiful. I love all these pictures. Tart cherries, blue skies, cherry BBQ sauce – I think there is a foodie heaven. :)

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36 Marla August 1, 2013 at 5:14 am

Totally foodie & photo heaven! I am so happy we were there for bluebird days!

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37 Kiran @ KiranTarun.com July 31, 2013 at 8:05 pm

What a fun experience! Beautiful photos, Marla. Hope you are getting some down time :)

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38 Marla August 1, 2013 at 5:15 am

Kiran…..although I love travel it is great to be home with my family & yes, enjoying down time!

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39 Tieghan July 31, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Oh my!! So yummy!! what and incredible trip!

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40 najwa kronfel August 1, 2013 at 5:50 am

I loooove cherries too!! Beautiful post, nicely done Marla!

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41 Nadia@Loveliveandgarden August 1, 2013 at 10:07 am

Have you tried dried tart cherries? They are to die for!

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42 Marla August 1, 2013 at 10:45 am

Oh yes!!! Love those dried tart cherries!!

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43 Angie | Big Bear's Wife August 1, 2013 at 10:57 am

I love Michigan! We have family there and have been up that way a few times. Love all of the cherry photos too!

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44 gina @ skinnytaste August 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Those look scrumptious, they scream summer!

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45 Laura Dembowski August 3, 2013 at 5:37 am

I love MI tart cherries! I live in southeast MI and buying sour cherries at a local farm is a summer ritual. My parents went to Traverse City a couple years ago and brought home the best sweet cherries too. But I have yet to make tart cherry pie! Next year for sure.

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46 Toni | Boulder Locavore August 4, 2013 at 9:18 am

What a beautiful tribute to the cherry industry Marla! Great insight with a ride-along: felt like I was there!

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47 Marla August 4, 2013 at 10:16 am

So glad you could “join us” Toni ;)

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48 Jeanette August 4, 2013 at 8:33 pm

What a fun trip Marla – so great that you were able to see firsthand the source of fresh cherries and how they are nurtured to full ripeness. Beautiful pics! Really enjoyed your post – I could imagine how sweet these perfectly ripened cherries were.

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49 Amelia August 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Oh Northern Michigan, how I love you! What beautiful photos and the cherries look AMAZING!!

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50 momofnine August 6, 2013 at 4:58 am

I just happened upon your blog and I love it! What beautiful photos and your recipes sound terrific. I was thrilled to see your post on TC and tart cherries. I hail from the up north Michigan area. Once you have experienced tart Michigan cherries I feel there is no substitute. So glad to meet you. Thank you.

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51 Nutmeg Nanny August 9, 2013 at 6:21 pm

You captured some really beautiful moments :) the cherries look perfect!

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