Posts Tagged ‘Dark Sweet Cherries’

Oregon Cherry Coke Jell-O Salad

Posted December 8th, 2012 in Desserts, Recipe, Side Dishes

6-10 servings


1 can pitted Oregon Dark Sweet cherries, drained, juice reserved

1 (20 oz) can crushed pineapple, drained with juice reserved

1 (6oz) package cherry Jello-O

3 oz cream cheese, softened

6 oz Coca-Cola Soda

1 cup chopped pecans


1)      In sauce pan, combine ½ cup reserved Oregon Cherry juice and 1/2cup reserved pineapple juice. Bring to a boil, add Jell-O and whisk together. Remove from heat and add cream cheese and blend together until smooth.

2)      Add Coca Cola soda and beat until mixture becomes fluffy. Fold in Oregon Cherries, pineapple, and nuts. Pour into molded container, chill 6-8 hours or until firm.

* I spray my mold with cooking spray just to be sure it comes out perfectly.


The Life of a Cherry Grower

Posted July 13th, 2012 in At the Farm, News in Produce, Posts

Photo by Mark Harrison/The Seattle Times. Francisco Lopez picks cherries recently at Hayden Farms in Eltopia, Franklin County, where pickers are told to gently lay, not drop, the tender fruit in a bucket to avoid bruising.

Life is not always a bowl of cherries if you are a cherry grower.  This past spring an unusual set of weather conditions all but wiped out the Red Tart Cherry crop in the Midwest.  The majority of the world’s tart cherries are grown in this region around Traverse City, Michigan.  A secondary growing area in upstate New York and Pennsylvania was affected by the same weather.  The growers and packers in this part of the country are devastated.  You can read more about the crop failure here. The cherries grown here are the traditional Cherry pie cherry. The variety is called Montmorency and they have had quite a run lately with the discovery of their fantastic health properties.  They are a natural anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and contain melatonin for sleep.   Just as importantly they are delicious and a favorite for making lots of things in addition to pie: smoothies, quick bread, tarts and just topping Greek Yogurt adding a bit of honey for a healthy breakfast.

A similar weather phenomenon took place exactly ten years ago and here at Oregon Fruit we were faced with a serious challenge; How to supply our customers with our #1 product?  A decade ago, we found a similar tasting cherry variety grown in Poland. Although we are committed to growing and packing right here in America, we also believe in American ingenuity when it comes to making our customers happy. So we bought the Polish cherries and sold them to our customers and most everyone was satisfied.  This variety is a much deeper red than our US grown varieties, more like a fine Cabernet.  The taste is similar, though. Just the right amount of tart.

We didn’t expect to find ourselves in this situation again for another 40 years but here we are.  We have bought up all the tart cherries we can find both is the US and internationally. The prices are  high due to the limited supply but we think it will be worth it to our loyal and dedicated customers to be able to make their favorite recipes even in this rough year. Some things are just worth paying more for.

In the Northwest some of the most delicious dark sweet cherries are grown.  The growing season is short and I personally look forward to eating my weight in cherries during the fresh season.  According to the Linda Mapes of the Seattle Times “So tricky to grow, such a delectable summer treat: Washington cherry growers take another spin in the cherry casino, as they bring in the state’s most high-risk crop”.  I love the description of this grower,” Denny Hayden is packing heat: a Bluetooth in one ear, cell phone holstered on his hip — and rosary beads and holy medals in his jeans pocket.

“And if that doesn’t do it, I’ve got Tums and Excedrin,” Hayden said. “And a prayer book. And if all that fails, I have whiskey.”  The article goes on to say “For while cherry growers produce one of the state’s most valuable crops per acre, theirs also is a high-stakes harvest, a gamble in the cherry casino where an entire season’s painstaking labor — and investment — can be lost in a passing storm.”  You can read more about the harvest in Washington here.

The crop in the Northwest is coming in but it has not been without weather related trouble. However the fruit looks beautiful and the crop is large so the Washington growers will not be experiencing the pain of their Midwest compatriots at least this year.   Thanks to the efforts of these growers passionate about the fruit they harvest we will have a great canning season this year at Oregon Fruit and you will find these big, bold and beautiful treats on grocers shelves long after the fresh season is over.


Cherry Chocolate Smoothie

½ cup nonfat Greek Yogurt

½ cup vanilla almond milk

½ cup Oregon Fruit Dark Sweet Cherries, drained syrup reserved

2 Tbs. Dark Sweet Cherry Syrup

1/8 tsp almond extract

1 Tbs. Dark Chocolate Chips

½ cup crushed ice


Put all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately. Serves 1



What’s Better than Cherries and Chocolate?

Posted February 27th, 2012 in Healthy Eating, Healthy Tips, In the Kitchen, Posts

Some of the latest research on both of these foods has demonstrated how good they are for us. Of course we are talking about SMALL amounts of good dark chocolate, not the whole 1 lb. bag of peanut M&M’s! And everything in moderation is a good rule of thumb.

Coffee has also had some good food press and once again we have to talk about the whole moderation thing.  I don’t think anyone would recommend the 8-10 cups of coffee I typically drink in a day.  But I rationalize that I don’t have any trouble sleeping since the minute I sit down at night I am pretty much asleep and am pretty healthy all things considered. However, the fact that I talk pretty fast and move even faster most of the time could be considered annoying by those close to me.

Inspired by a coffee house drink, my friend Kitty who I met in a cooking class at the local Natural Foods Coop, had a dream about Mocha Cherry Muffins.  She suggested I make them with an all natural dark chocolate brownie mix using the pumpkin or yogurt variation so as to reduce the fat, then add some coffee and dark sweet cherries.  It sounded pretty good to me so I gave it a try.  These are REALLY GOOD!  I think she needs a notepad and paper by her bed. She might have a cook book in her dreams.

But back to the whole moderation thing….although these are good for you and low fat, please don’t eat the whole batch in one sitting.  Take them to work or share with your neighbors. They will thank you and you will thank me.


Mocha Cherry Muffins

Posted February 27th, 2012 in Breakfast, Recipe

Yield: approx. 18-24 muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1 box chocolate cake mix

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 heaping TBS instant coffee

1 can Oregon Dark Sweet Cherries, drained reserve syrup

1 small box sugar free chocolate pudding


Add water to the reserved cherry syrup to make 1 1/3 cup liquid.  Mix the liquid, cake mix, pumpkin and pudding together. Fill lined muffin pan ½ full, add 2-3 cherries and then cover with more batter to make 2/3 full.  Opt: Sprinkle with ground walnuts. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the cakes springs back when lightly touched.  When cool dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.


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