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National Cherry Month Cherry Recipes

Already known for their high vitamin A and beta-carotene content, research suggests that it’s the bright red color of tart cherries that provides the anti-inflammatory benefits. The antioxidants in cherries are believed to reduce the pain of arthritis, inflammation and gout. Besides their many health benefits, they are also wonderful to eat or drink. We offer our cherries in frozen (no online sales), dried, maraschino and juice form.
Let’s celebrate this delicious and healthful fruit in recipes!

 

Cheery Cherry Cake
8 cups fresh or frozen (partially thawed) drained, pitted tart cherries
½ cup sugar
1 package yellow or white cake mix
1 cup (2 sticks) cold butter, thinly sliced
1 cup sliced almonds (or other chopped nuts)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 13x9x2” baking pan. Evenly spread cherries into the prepared pan. Sprinkle ½ cup sugar evenly over the fruit. Evenly shake cake mix over fruit and then sprinkle sliced almonds evenly over the top. Sprinkle the almond extract over the almonds. Place the butter slices evenly over the entire top of the cake. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 50 -55 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Cool before serving. Enjoy!

 

Our Favorite Broccoli Salad
3 large heads broccoli, cut into bite size florets. The stem can be peeled and chopped into bite size pieces as well.
¼ cup chopped red onion
8 slices bacon, fried and chopped
1 cup dried cherries
½ cup toasted sunflower seeds
¼ toasted slivered almonds
In a large bowl mix the above ingredients.
Dressing; Mix in a small bowl:
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sugar
Mix the dressing with the salad ingredients one to two hours prior to serving. Keep refrigerated.

 

The Best Cherry Chicken Salad
3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup toasted & chopped pecans
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 teaspoon horseradish
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup cubed apples (optional)
In a large bowl combine the mayonnaise, buttermilk, horseradish, salt & pepper. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

 

Cabbage Apple Cherry Slaw
½ cup apple juice
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ small green cabbage, thinly sliced
½ small red cabbage, thinly sliced
3 carrots, grated
3 green onions, sliced
½ cup dried cherries
1 apple, small cubes
In a large bowl whisk together the apple juice, vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper. Add the cabbage, carrots, green onion, cherries and apple. Toss well to coat.

 

Oatmeal Cookie Muffins
1 ½ cups flour
½ cups oats
½ tablespoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons applesauce
3 tablespoons melted butter
1/3 brown sugar
1 egg
¾ cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
¼ cup chocolate chips
¼ dried cherries
In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir well, set aside.
In a small bowl combine applesauce, butter, sugar, yogurt and egg.
Pour over the dry ingredients and fold until mixed. Add the chocolate chips and cherries.
Grease and fill 12 muffin tins ¾ of the way full. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean when inserted into the center.

 

Maraschino Cherry Fruit Salad
1 pint sour cream
2 cans each:
Pineapple tidbits, drained
Mandarin oranges, drained
1 bag mini marshmallows
1 bag coconut
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup sliced maraschino cherries
2 cups sliced or whole grapes
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Add sliced bananas and apple chunks just before serving.

Enjoy!

Happy National Cherry Month!

February is National Cherry Month! How are you planning to celebrate? Well, those of us at Leelanau Fruit Company traditionally spend all month challenging each other to pit spitting competitions, pie eating competitions, and cherry juice flip cup. Anytime is a good time to celebrate cherries in our book, but when we get national recognition and have a whole month to celebrate our fruit, we pull out all the stops!

In all seriousness, we do enjoy celebrating cherries during February, National Cherry Month. While the weather outside might be cold, snowy, and blustery, National Cherry Month gives us an excuse to tout the benefits of our local, picked fresh from our trees, superfruit.

We are fully supportive of you going out to your local grocery store and buying a couple dozen cherry pies to mark the special occasion. Heck, go nuts and garnish your pie with a couple of our maraschino cherries! You deserve to be spoiled.

But for those of you who have made a New Year’s resolution to get in shape and exercise more, our tart cherry concentrate can help you achieve your fitness goals and improve your health. Our partners at www.choosecherries.com have a great resource website where you can learn all about training and exercising while using MontMOREncy tart cherries.

Why did we spell MontMOREncy that way? Click on over to www.choosecherries.com to find out, and in an upcoming blog post, we will explain what the name MontMOREncy means to us.

In the meantime, we want to help you celebrate National Cherry Month in style. Any and all orders placed on our website in February will receive a free gift from Leelanau Fruit Company. The small gift is our way of saying Happy National Cherry Month!

So go on, order some cherry juice concentrate to boost your exercise routine. Grab a LFC t-shirt and go to the gym in style. Serve some chocolate covered dried cherries at your Superbowl party (you can cheat your diet once in a while- we give you permission).

Click here to go directly to our online store. We will toast to you at our next cherry juice party!

What do you guys do this time of year?

“What do you guys do this time of year?” This is a common question we get after cherry season has wrapped up. It is a fair question. Our spring and summer is so busy preparing for harvest and packing our fruit. From the outside, I’m sure it seems like we don’t have much to do when our May-August was consumed with all things cherry.

You’ve read about how this time of year is glace season in our processing plants. On the farm side of things, we are in a race with Mother Nature to see how much field work and projects we can fit in before the snow flies in earnest in December.

Earlier this fall, we prepared ground for planting new cherry trees next summer. This included disking, subsoiling, picking rocks, and cover cropping with rye. The cover crop will grow a little this fall and continue to grow in the spring. When we disk those grasses under, the decomposing grass will provide nutrients back to the soil.

We’ve also spent a lot of time cleaning up our orchards from the August 2 storm. Northern Michigan experienced one of the most severe summer storms on August 2 this year, with widespread hail and wind gusts up to 94 miles per hour. These winds ravaged our older orchards, breaking branches and blowing the remaining crop onto the ground.

Our farm work crews have also mowed and fertilized all our orchards. Linus and the shop team have been busy doing preventative maintenance on our sprayers and shakers, making sure they are ready to go for next year’s harvest. We painted one set of our shakers- what a job that was!

We’ve rebuilt several roads around our orchards. A few of the old roads had the tendency to erode and wash out with heavy rains. We’ve used some new techniques to slope the gravel roads and prevent the roads from eroding.

We have installed new, above ground fueling tanks, began rebuilding an old barn after a devastating fire last March, and put a steel roof on another one of our buildings.

So, as you can see, we’ve been busy. Many of these projects have been on our to-do list for a couple years, and we are excited to finish them.

CHOCOLATE CHERRY CAKE

cakeThe combination of chocolate and cherries is always a delicious favorite. This is an easy recipe to whip up and topped off with an amazing chocolate frosting, it’s sure to be a Go-To recipe!

Ingredients:
1 package Devil’s Food cake mix
2 ¾ cup homemade cherry pie filling (or 1 21oz can cherry pie filling)
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon almond extract
Frosting:
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter (use real butter for best results)
1 heaping cup Dark Chocolate chips
¼ teaspoon almond extract
Instructions:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour a 13×9” baking dish (you can make this recipe into bars by using a 15x10x1” baking pan).
In a large bowl, combine cake mix, pie filling, beaten eggs and extract. Stir until well blended. Pour into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes, (bake 25 – 30 minutes for bars) or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool on wire rack while making frosting.
Frosting; in a small saucepan, combine sugar, milk and butter. Bring mixture to a boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate chips and extract until smooth. Pour and spread over warm cake. Enjoy!

Friday five favorites

It is getting beautiful in Leelanau County.  Fall is in the air, and the leaves are changing colors.  We’ve had a great week at Leelanau Fruit Company, and we’d like to share some of our “favorites” that have made us happy this week.  Enjoy!

By Renee Spaulding

1.       Sporting Event – MSU vs. UOM…..I am a diehard MSU fan and love college football.  I look forward to this game every year.  Check out this article on the importance of this game to the MSU organization.  http://www.freep.com/story/sports/college/michigan-state/spartans/2015/10/13/michigan-state-spartans-michigan-rivalry/73888866/

2.       Favorite Pandora Station – Hip Hop BBQ…do yourself a favor and check it out if you miss this type of music from the 90’s and early 2000’s.  It pumps me when running and brings back great memories!

3.       Favorite place to watch the sunset in Leelanau County – Pyramid Point.  This is located in the National Park and allows you to get in a nice hike with a beautiful view as a bonus.  Check out this link for additional information on it.  http://www.nps.gov/slbe/planyourvisit/trailpyramidpt.htm

4.       Favorite Fall Treat – Pumpkin donut from Chimoski’s Bakery in Suttons Bay.  If you haven’t been here you have to check them out….if a donut isn’t your thing don’t worry, Tina and the girls have all sorts of yummy treats waiting for you.  If you don’t like pumpkin, I would recommend trying something with cherries in it!  https://www.facebook.com/ChimoskiBakery?fref=ts

5.       Favorite Place to go on a Boat – Elk Rapids Sand Bar – If you have never been it is worth the boat ride… well, pretty much everywhere you go on a boat is pretty amazing in this area.  This sandbar offers crystal clear water and a smooth sandy bottom for hours of fun in the sun :)

A Fall Festival Celebrating… Maraschino Cherries?

PetersGroupPic

The second weekend of October may have been the nicest fall weekend Northern Michigan has experienced in years. Blue skies, bright sunshine, and 70 degree temps encouraged people to get outside and celebrate fall. Apples, pumpkins, wine, color tours. Fall festival season was in full swing.

 

That Saturday, the team at Leelanau Fruit Company put on our own Fall Festival of sorts. We were honored to open our Buckley plant to US Senator Gary Peters. Senator Peters is in his first term in the Senate, and he has spent significant time in the Traverse City area getting to know our communities, our people, and our businesses.

 

We invited several local businesspeople to share their stories and meet Mr. Peters. We served a lunch that revolved around cherries and the businesses we partner with. Pleva International grilled their signature cherry-blended Plevalean burgers. We served Great Lakes Potato Chip Company’s Cherry Barbecue chip, which is made with real cherries! Our beverage of choice was cherry juice, mixed with our own cherry concentrate. Dessert was Moomer’s Cherries Moobilee ice cream, which features our ice cream cherries, topped with one of our stem-on cocktail cherries.

Glenntalkingtopeters

I’ve had many chances to work with legislators on many issues. I’ve always felt it’s best to reinforce the message with a personal story. We reinforced our message with food. How can it get any better than that!

 

This meeting was a great opportunity for us as industry leaders to give Senator Peters some background on the complexities of the cherry industry. We highlighted some ways we believe we can grow the industry, strengthening Michigan’s farms and value-added processors. Senator Peters asked thoughtful questions and is excited to support the industry in those goals.

 

We toured the plant, showing the Senator and other guests our processes. We talked about our 150 kW solar array, how that installation allowed us to control some of our high energy costs. And of course, we gave the Senator a piece of fruitcake, featuring our fruit mix, on a to-go plate!

Groupbytanks

Our team at LFC enjoyed hosting the tour. We are passionate about the cherry industry and are proud of our place in it. For us, it is fun to share that passion and excitement with policy makers, local businesspeople, and the community.

talkingtopeters

Friday Five Favorites- October 9

Welcome to the October 9th edition of our Friday Five Favorites! It has been a busy week for Leelanau Fruit Company. We have been processing turnips (yes, turnips!), packing glace fruit mixes, and prepping for a plant tour. We’d like to share some of our favorites from this week. So, without further adieu, here are our Five Friday Favorites.

By Ben LaCross

1. Music that made me smile this week: I heard Michael Jackson’s “Black or white” on the radio this week and was reminded of some of the incredible songs that guy put out. His personal controversy aside, Jacko could make music with the best of them.
2. Must-read blog post: Ok, this one is going to be a little self-serving, but Leelanau County is beginning to show signs of peak fall color, and we had fun writing this piece. Check out “A locals Top 10 reasons why M-22 is the best road for color tours” here: http://leelanaufruit.com/a-locals-top-10-reasons-why-m-22-is-the-best-road-for-color-tours/
3. Must-read post that we didn’t write: The Livestrong website posted this very informative article about cherries. We love that others love our fruit as much as we do! http://www.livestrong.com/article/24160-health-benefits-tart-cherry-juice/
4. Sporting event we are excited for: Michigan State vs. Rutgers, Saturday night, 8pm. Not only are we excited that MSU is 5-0, we have several members of the extended Leelanau Fruit family who will attend the game in New Jersey.
5. Speaking of New Jersey: The reason why our LFC family is in New Jersey is because Glenn and Judy LaCross’s daughter, Maria, married a great guy who is in the Coast Guard. A helicopter pilot, Jim is based out of U. S. Coast Guard Station Atlantic City. Check out their Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/AirStaAC?fref=ts.
So there you have it. Do you like this blog feature? Let us know! We love to hear your feedback. And as always, if you like what we are doing, share our stuff on Facebook.

A local’s top 10 reasons why M-22 is the best road for color tours

m-22

The road in front of our Suttons Bay plant is M-22. This stretch of two-lane highway is renown for its beauty, as it twists along the coast of Leelanau County. Recently, the USA Today and 10Best ranked M-22 as the nation’s most scenic autumn drive. Check it out here (http://www.freep.com/story/travel/michigan/2015/10/05/m-22-voted-americas-best-scenic-autumn-drive/72970232/). Once again, Leelanau County tops a list of the most beautiful places in the country.

As local county residents, we love the fact that so many people want to enjoy their vacation in our backyard. Yes, the traffic gets bad, and it’s challenging to get around our sleepy little towns sometimes. But we love to share our county with others. We are proud of it.

And so, with the peak color season coming somewhere between October 10 and the 25, we’d like to share with you our top 10 reasons why M-22 is the best road for color tours.

  1. Water. You are surrounded by it while driving. It’s beautiful. It’s fresh. And it provides a background to all the memories you’ll make while driving around Leelanau County.
  1. No stoplights. Once you enter LC, you will not encounter another 3-light stop light until you leave LC. Life is slower here (unless you work and live here, then you hustle like crazy. Summer only lasts a minute or two).
  1. Orchards are everywhere. And as a company who relies on those orchards, we couldn’t be happier.
  1. Wineries, cider houses, and breweries. Around every twist of M-22, you are bound to run into a great winery, cider house, or brewery crafting award-winning beverages. Try Good Harbor Vineyards, one of our favorites.
  1. Fishtown. Spend some time in Leland’s historic fishing village. The shops and galleries are one of a kind, as is the location.
  1. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Hike the dune climb, explore Pyramid Point, or search for Petoskey stones at Glen Haven. It’s the best. You won’t want to leave.
  1. Go off the beaten path. While everyone else will be driving M-22, explore LC like a local. Go to Cedar and have a Polish Dog. Eat some Indian Food at NJ’s in Lake Leelanau. Drive the back roads in Maple City, taking in some of the best views you’ll ever see.
  1. M-22 towns. Suttons Bay, Omena, Northport, Leland, Glen Arbor, and Empire. If they don’t have it, you don’t need it.
  1. Good Harbor. Go there for a sunset. Preferably when there are a few clouds in the western sky. It is incredible.
  1. Stop into Leelanau Fruit and buy some fruit products like a local! Fill up on all your Leelanau County souveniers like cherry concentrate, dried cherries, chocolate covered cherries, and Leelanau Fruit swag. And mention you read about us on our blog for a freebie!

 

“Do yourself a favor” Friday’s

Welcome to a new Cherry Blog feature. We are calling it “Do yourself a favor.” This should be a fun, interactive look into the music, reading, food, fun, and sports that are making the LFC team tick any given week. It’s meant to replicate water cooler talk amongst employees. It’s our way of saying, “do yourself a favor and check this out.” We think you will enjoy it.

Each week, LFC team members will choose 5 cool things they have enjoyed or used as motivation that week. We hope some of those “pro tips” will translate to your lives, and help you bring a little of the Leelanau Lifestyle to your life.

Enjoy!

By Ben LaCross

 

  1. Music to jam to:

I recently heard Mumford and Son’s “I will wait” and was reconnected with a great song from a couple years ago. Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rGKfrgqWcv0

 

  1. Book to check out:

Kelsey and I heard Rorke Denver speak at the American Farm Bureau annual meeting last January in San Diego. His message of excellence and resiliency stuck with us, so we decided to check out his book, Damn Few: Making the Modern Seal Warrior, here http://www.amazon.com/Damn-Few-Making-Modern-Warrior/dp/B00DPNTKQ4.

 

  1. LFC support company to do business with:

Leelanau Fruit Company partnered with Northern Michigan Digital www.northernmichigandigital.com early spring 2015 to redesign the www.leelanaufruit.com website. We could not be more pleased with the results of the website redesign. NMD has exceeded all our expectations. If your company is in need of a new, responsive website, do yourself a favor and contact NMD ASAP!

 

  1. App I can’t live without:

I’ve had 2 meniscus surgeries on my right knee, so I always thought I would never be able to run or do rigorous exercise again. I talked to my surgeon, and he encouraged me to run, start slow, ice everyday, drink cherry juice, and never do a marathon. So I decided to run a half marathon! I used Runkeeper (www.runkeeper.com) to track all my training and keep me motivated. And motivated I was! I finished the National Cherry Festival Half Marathon in less than 1 hour 50 minutes. While cherry farming and other things have kept me from training much since, I will do another half again- soon!

 

  1. Best pizza in Northern Michigan:

My family and I can’t get enough That’sa Pizza (http://thatsapizzami.com/). We especially love their Chicken Bacon Ranch pizza. Their west side Traverse City location has great service and an awesome old school Pac Man and Centipede video game console. That’s our go-to family fun night pizza place for Friday’s. Do yourself a favor- check them out!

Christmas in September

Chocolate doughnut decorated with Leelanau Fruit Company Maraschino Cocktail Cherries.

Chocolate doughnut decorated with Leelanau Fruit Company Maraschino Cocktail Cherries.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! I’m dreaming of a white Christmas. Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!

Why are we singing holiday songs in September? It’s just past Labor Day! We have over 85 days until Christmas. What’s going on here?

No, we are not trying to get a jump on the major retailers who start advertising Christmas shopping at the beginning of college football season. We are ramping up our production of Glacé fruit mixes for holiday fruitcakes! For us, it’s glacé season!

What is glacé fruit, you might ask? Well, you can click above on the wholesale tab to navigate to our glacé fruit page. For those of you who’d prefer a Cliffs Notes intro to glacé fruit, here you go:

Glacé is the French word for glazed, and refers to fruits that are preserved in a sugar syrup. Glacé fruit can be used in cakes, breads and other sweets, or used to decorate cakes. Traditionally these fruits are used during the Christmas holiday season in fruitcakes.

Glacé fruit, also known as candied fruit, has existed since the 14th century. Whole fruit, pieces, and peels of fruits are placed in heated sugar syrup. The fruit absorbs the moisture from within and the sugar syrup eventually preserves the fruit. Depending on the size and type of fruit this process can take anywhere from several days up to a month.

LFC  glacé mixes include our cherries, along with pineapple, orange and lemon peel, and turnips. These mixes will be delivered to select bakeries throughout the United States and Canada in the next couple months, who will use them as ingredients in traditional holiday fruitcakes!

Since we began producing fruitcake mixes in 2012, we have become fans of the delectable holiday treat. And no, not just because we make the mix.  Bakeries are doing incredible things with fruitcake, and let us tell you, they are delicious.

lfc booth pic

Last week, Renee and Ben traveled to Toronto, Canada, to participate in a bakery supply showcase dubbed “Christmas in September.”  This show was a great opportunity for us to interact directly with the bakers who use our glacé mixes in their bakeries.  It was a rewarding experience to hear people come up to our booth and tell us how much they love our products.

table pic

As we get closer to the holiday season, we will post a recipe for you to use our mixes and make a holiday fruitcake for yourself. Don’t want to bake? I don’t blame you! If you have a Costco store nearby, try one of their bakery fruitcakes. Chances are the fruit mix came from our Buckley plant- and it all began with a cherry!

Merry Christmas- in September!