Celebrate with Food: February is National Cherry Month

By: Amber Ogden | February 23, 2015

When you think “February,” you may associate gloomy thoughts like snow, gray days and even colder nights. But, fun fact my dear readers, did you know that February is National Cherry Month? I was a little surprised to learn this tidbit of information, because naturally I assumed such a festivity would take place in July when Michigan cherries are in peak season.

However, if you think about it, it’s kind of an unexpected and happy surprise that we celebrate these bright, juicy fruits in the middle of winter. If you’re feeling festive and looking to get into the cheery spirit, here are a few places you can go to enjoy some cherry treats:

Grand Traverse Pie Co., 41640 Ann Arbor Rd., Plymouth, offers plenty of pie flavors, but none as sweet as the numerous concoctions featuring Northern Michigan Montmorency Tart Cherries. Take your pick of Old Mission Cherry, Grand Traverse Cherry Crumb, Cherry Rhubarb, Orchard Natural Cherry, Long Lake Cherry Berry pie and more.

If you’re watching your waistline but still want to partake, consider opting for a mini Cherry Crumb pie and splitting it with a friend.

Cherry Republic, 223 S. Main St., Ann Arbor, is one-stop shopping when it comes to all things cherries. There’s an entire section of the website dedicated to National Cherry Month deals, where you’ll receive discounted pricing through Saturday, Feb. 28!

Some such items include Cherry Salsa, Imperial Chocolate Covered Cherries, Cherry Almond Butter, Cherry Berry Jam, Cherry Pepper Jelly, Cherry Pecan Butter, Cherry Melt Brownies, Dried Cherries, Dark Chocolate Covered Cherries and more.

Cherry Republic offers gift baskets and boxes which make wonderful gifts, and seasonal items such as Cherry Hot Chocolate, which is perfect for sipping on during these frigid days we’ve been experiencing. If you’re a cherry-a-holic, you’ll find everything you could ever desire, from breakfast items to pop to candy to sausage. Yes, even Cherry Summer Sausage!

Beau Bien Fine Foods is a Detroit condiment company, and you can find its products at any of these local retail locations. The preserves are prepared with fruit, cane sugar and natural flavorings, and are all natural. Those include Tart Cherry and Star Anise preserves (which pairs wonderfully with shortbread and chèvre cheese, according to the website), as well as Tart Cherry and Port preserves (try with duck breast or venison).

Also worth noting is the Tart Cherry Chutney, which combines tart cherries, apples, shallots and spices. It’s great with bread, pork tenderloin and cheese.

Here’s something to look forward to with Beau Bien Fine Foods: come springtime, you’ll be able to purchase items from several local farmers markets, in addition to the previously mentioned retail locations.

The Cupcake Station, a favorite of Metro Detroit, has several locations, but the Birmingham and Ann Arbor ones are celebrating National Cherry Month in style. Both are featuring a cherry-themed cupcake as the Baker’s Choice for the month, which varies by location.

If you’re heading to The Cupcake Station, 116 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor, you’ll find the Cherry Chocolate Nute, a cherry cupcake filled with walnuts and chopped Maraschino cherries. It’s topped with milk chocolate frosting, sliced almonds and a fresh cherry. As for the Birmingham store, located at 136 N. Old Woodward Ave., A Way to Your Heart speaks for itself! This mini dessert consists of cherry chocolate cake stuffed with cherry filling, topped with cherry buttercream, dipped and drizzled in chocolate with a fresh cherry. If that’s not enough sugar for you, I’m not sure what is.

Papa Joe’s, with locations in Rochester and Birmingham, is a gourmet market with a great bakery. You’ll find Cherry Walnut and Chocolate Cherry Bread, which are either great dessert or breakfast options, no judgment here.

All of the breads you purchase at the Art of Bread are free of additives, preservatives and artificial sweeteners, so for once, you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in carbs. Three cheers for cherry bread!

Motor City Brewing Works, 470 W. Canfield St., Detroit, is known for its beer, but did you know that wine is also produced here? Cherry wine, I might add? What better way to celebrate National Cherry Month than with a glass of sweet cherry wine at Motor City Brewing Works. The good news is, it’s available year round, so you can sip on it whether it’s a chilly winter day or a blazing summer afternoon.

No matter how you celebrate, enjoy National Cherry Month! Cherries are packed with antioxidants, and some sources even say that tart cherries increase melatonin levels in your body, leading to better sleep. I don’t know about you, but if that’s true, I’ll be downing them by the bucket.