Earlier this month, Traverse City hosted the 88th Annual National Cherry Festival. Since its start in 1925, the Cherry Festival’s mission was to celebrate and promote cherries. From cherry treats to cherry pit spit and pie eating contests, Traverse City transforms into the unofficial “Cherry Capital of the World” with an estimated 500,000 attendees for a fun-filled week-long event!
Traverse City has been named by “Midwest Living Magazine” as “one of the top five food towns.” With lake climates which produce gorgeous and plentiful harvests, it is no wonder why Traverse City’s culinary scene has established such a great food reputation and kept up the tradition of the National Cherry Festival.
This year’s Cherry Festival did not shy away from typical events that included parades, musical guests, half-marathons and much more. The real stars of the festival were the cherries – with messy pie eating contests and even pit spitting contests for children and adults, and all the cherry-themed foods.
Multiple studies have shown the health benefits of eating cherries. What are these benefits? Eating cherries helps reduce the risk of heart disease, fights inflammation linked to arthritis and gout, promote a better night’s sleep – and they are delicious. This makes cherries the ultimate ingredient for any summer dish! Most of the production of cherries in the U.S. is from Michigan and the Northwest region. Michigan grows about 75 percent of the tart cherry crops, so it is no surprise why Traverse City is the host of this famous event.
The Cherry Festival featured a lot of cherry-baked goods, foods and treats, but also sold a cherry cookbook with over 100 recipes from the Midwest. From salads, mojitos, to sweet cherry pie, the recipe book features plenty of inspiration for your personal culinary experiences. What makes cooking with cherries so special here in Michigan is that cherries are grown locally, providing you with the freshest and tastiest ingredients while supporting the Michigan community – which is all you need for a perfect dish.
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