Posted in Travel

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L to R: Coleen (Pretty Prudent), Tricia (Once a Month Mom), Heather (Heather’s Dish), Sara (Me.  Our Best Bites.  Duh.) Kate (Ditto), Tessa (Handle The Heat), Christy (Southern Plate), Kelley (Mountain Mama Cooks), Kristy (Sweet Treats and More), Nicole (Baking Bites).

Let me tell you a little story about ice cream.  About the same time my husband and I moved into our new house last fall, a shiny new Fred Meyer store opened up literally 2 minutes away, so needless to say I’m there all. the.time.  That’s when we discovered their house-brand ice cream, Private Selection.  And it became our favorite ice cream of all ice creams.

PrintWe seriously told everyone about it.  So much so, that one of my friends recently asked, “For real, how much do they pay you to promote their ice cream?  Do you have some sort of deal?”   Ha!  I wish.  No deal whatsoever, I just love it.  They have the most amazing flavors, and it’s really really great quality.  I think it rivals all of the “fancy” brands of ice cream; it’s a bit of a hidden gem in the freezer aisle if you ask me.  So imagine my sheer elation when Kate and I were invited by Kroger themselves (there are a bunch of stores that operate under the Kroger name, and depending where you live you might see Ralph’s, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, Foods Co., Dillon’s, City Market, Bakers, etc) to come out to Traverse City, Michigan to tour the very cherry orchards that provided the cherries for their Michigan Cherry Cobbler flavor, and stir up a little custom batch ourselves.  Heck yes!

The first day of our trip was all about cherries.  Sweet, gorgeous, plump, Michigan cherries.

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We toured the gorgeous cherry orchards at Old Mission Fruit Company with owners, Bern & Cheryl Kroupa.

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As a horticulturist myself, I felt right at home amongst the trees.

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We learned all about the different varieties,

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and the ins and outs of running a large-scale growing operation.

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Annnnd we got to sample.  Lots of sampling.  Right off the trees.

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This was Kate and my first time visiting Michigan, and we both thought it was simply lovely.

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After nice tour around the cherry orchards

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We enjoyed drinks and appetizers right on site

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and had lots of time to visit.  Blogger events are always fun because you get put actual faces to the voices you know so well on-line.

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Everything was cherry-centric and we loved it!

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Being with a group of bloggers is sort of hilarious if you’ve never experienced it, because everyone takes pictures of EVERYTHING.  Like, nobody takes a drink until everyone has the perfect shot of all of the glasses lined up,

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and we ooh and ahhh over things likes cherry baskets.

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after drinks and appetizers we rounded a corner through some rustic pallets

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and into something that I can only explain as, magical.

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The most beautiful table right in the middle of rows and rows of cherry trees.

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filled with fresh flowers

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and cherry-filled votive holders, and pretty things like mason jars with our names on them.

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If you remember what I just told you about bloggers and their cameras, you can imagine we had a hay day with this one.

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We chatted, and got to know new friends,i-q87Vjhm-Mand toasted to a lovely evening.i-VxCwt3M-MAnd then came delicious things like filet and lobster,

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and apple pie with cherry ice cream and macadamia nut cookies.

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And as the sun went down, the table lit up.

i-RBcP6Zm-MLooking at these photos is making me want to have a dinner party.  If only I had my own cherry orchard…

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Now, we weren’t in Michigan just to see cherries and eat yummy food, but I couldn’t resist showing you photos of this fun day.

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We actually had a little work to do, and Kate and I were both invited to represent our states to develop a new ice cream flavor.

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That all happened on day two and I can’t wait to show you how it went down because we had a blast and you all get the opportunity to weigh in on our creations.  That’s comin’ at ya in a special TUESDAY post this next week, so tune in then!

Special thanks to Michigan photographer Leah Renee for all of the photos in this post- isn’t her work fabulous?

 

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30comments

  1. 1
    Duck says:

    LOVE your site and your cookbook- my folks bought me one for a recent birthday. And, as a dabbling photographer myself, I LOVE how your foods are both styled and photographed. You ladies are VERY talented. Thank you for sharing all you know, do, and love with us.

    Happy day, Duck

  2. 2
    Tammy says:

    Well, then. We went cherry picking on the 4th of July and we had no such reception. I feel completely gypped. LOL

    Looks like you had a great time. I do like Michigan for it’s cherries. Being a California girl I had a hard time adjusting to the snow in winter. :)

  3. 3

    I’m so glad you enjoyed Michigan! I live there, and I swear there is no better state in the summer. (Of course, I might be a bit biased.) That seems like such a great opportunity, too. I can’t wait to hear about the rest of your trip!

  4. 4
    Anna R says:

    I know exactly what you mean about FM’s Private Selection ice cream…LOVE IT! Only one complaint, the “limited edition” part. I’m dying for them to bring back the Banana Cream Pie ice cream they had out last summer. :(
    It looks like you both had a great time. I can’t wait to read about your ice cream creations.

    • 4.1
      sara says:

      oooh, I didn’t know they had a Banana Cream Pie ice cream out last year. But I can tell you, you will be VERY interested in Kate’s custom flavor :)

  5. 5
    Adri says:

    Have you tried Private Selection chocolate chips? Since Guittard chips aren’t available where I live, these are the next best I’ve found. Yum!

  6. 6

    I follow Kroger on Facebook and thought that I spotted the two of you in the photo they posted of this event. It looks like y’all had such a fun and beautiful time!! The photos are gorgeous!

  7. 7
    Erin says:

    Ralph’s, also a Kroger brand, is huge in California.

  8. 8
    Mark Petersen says:

    What part of Michigan was this? On my mission there were apple orchards in Plymouth and Northville but I didn’t see any cherry orchards.

  9. 9
    Lark says:

    Loved this post, I loved seeing all the familiar faces of my favorite Bloggers too!

  10. 10
    Once A Month Mom (Tricia) says:

    It was such a delight meeting you in person. I loved reading your first day recap. It took me back as if I was there again!

  11. 11
    Kristin says:

    Looks super fun! But please tell me that is not a container of tabaco in your back pocket???

    • 11.1
      sara says:

      Lol, it’s a lens cap ;) I actually wrote a funny comment about that but deleted it before I published this post- my husband is always making wise-cracks about that because I always put it in my back pocket!

  12. 12
    Elisabeth says:

    They had a picture of that cherry cobbler ice cream up at our Smith’s, but then no actual cherry cobbler ice cream. My husband was so sad!

  13. 13
    Phyllis says:

    This does look lovely.

  14. 14
    Wendy says:

    We are big fans of the PS ice cream too! But I’m dying to try the Michigan Cherry Cobbler! I haven’t seen it so will keep my eyes open. And dream about the Michigan cherry orchards when my eyes are closed…yum!!!

  15. 15
    Beth D. says:

    From this proud Michigander…thanks for visiting the mitten!

  16. 16
    Sarah says:

    Glad you had such fun in Michigan! It’s a great state :)

  17. 17
    garysgirl says:

    Looks so fun!! And the tour looks amazing. Wow. I want to go visit a cherry orchard now. Lol Can’t wait to hear what flavors of ice cream you came up with!

  18. 18
    Aimee says:

    Glad you enjoyed Michigan. That’s my backyard! We do love our cherries here.

  19. 19
    Maxine and Neal Davis says:

    Loved this article about Michigan cherries, well done. Appreciate the links to the blog sites you supplied.

  20. 20
    Deborah Wellard says:

    Loved the story and all the beautiful pictures! Thanks so much for sharing!! I’m so going to try that ice cream now!!

  21. 21
    Holly says:

    I was just up at Old Mission last spring! We went to the wineries though, no cherry orchards (wish we would have now!). It is definitely gorgeous in northern Michigan, sort of tucked away and charming :-) did you get to see any of Lake Michigan or go to Mackinac or into the UP? It’s so pretty and quaint… your pictures made me want to go back!

  22. 22
    Lindsay says:

    I’ll have to try private selection ice cream! Kate, I think your dress is so cute! Where did you get it?

  23. 23

    Wow! Great use of the photos! Amazing site! I’ll be following this one! Thank you so much!!

  24. 24
    Nessa says:

    I want some cherries now :)

  25. 25
    Camilla says:

    I’ve gotta say this is one of my favorite posts ever. I am a Utahan, but was originally born in TRAVERSE CITY, MI. And to top it all off We lived out on the peninsula in my grandfathers cherry orchards, so to say the very least this was VERY close to home for me. I got a little chills watching this story through another persons eyes. Thank you from me personally because I almost felt ‘home’ reading this article. I called down to the local Smith’s and they said they don’t carry that flavor of ice cream so I tried to special order and they called back and said they couldn’t do it anymore. Dang, I really really wanted to try some of that.

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