Cherry Republic’s First Product from 2021 Cherry Crop Hits Store Shelves
"It really becomes almost a holiday for our company." - Bob Sutherland, Cherry Republic President
The first product of the 2021 growing season for Cherry Republic is now ready to roll out. With crews out in the orchard Tuesday night, and in the processing center Wednesday morning, they’re working hard to get the freshest ingredients out to the public.
Cherry Republic President Bob Sutherland shouted out to a full store in Glen Arbor, calling for everyone’s attention. “We have our first product made with our 2021 cherry crop. This was picked last night, rushed to our factory and made into jam. It’s a holiday here at Cherry Republic. It’s our first product of the year!”
The announcement was greeted with cheers, and even a little flurry of activity over to the display table. Sutherland says it’s an unofficial holiday for Cherry Republic. “It’s kind of in the French tradition, they’ll do a Nouveau wine and it’s the first wine of the year. So we started five years ago doing a nouveau cherry jam, which is our first product of the year too.”
The “Montmorency Nouveau Preserves” is a product that relies on cooperation from Mother Nature. “We didn’t have a big crop but the crop we did has been terrific. Plump, very ripe red Montmorency cherries,” Sutherland says. “This year it’s even more meaningful because it’s a light crop. There won’t be that much product with this.”
In some ways this is a very quick process – it starts the night before getting the cherries off the tree. But it’s also a very labor-intensive process to get them into the stores. “These guys in the orchards are working 12-14 hours a day right now. They’re little heroes of the summer,” Sutherland says.
From the orchard – to the processing plant – Sutherland says “they started right at 6 in the morning getting things going… very fresh.” And just a few hours later the hot ticket item arrives still warm on the shelf.
Cherry Ambassador Molly Daly works at the Glen Arbor store headquarters. “Today’s a big day. Today’s the day the nouveau cherry comes in. They came from the trees and it’s exciting. Because the jam is still hot. The cherries are right off the tree,” Daly says. Sutherland adds, “It’s still warm, and it hasn’t fully set. It’s unique. How often can you go into a grocery store or anywhere and have something still hot from the kettle?”
The first stop is Cherry Republic headquarters in Glen Arbor. Then to Traverse City and Charlevoix – and the jam will be shipping out all over the state by the end of the week. Daly says customers love it – and notice the heat when they bring it to the register. “They say ‘this jar of jam is still warm! Wrap it up so it stays warm!’”
And like many cherry products, it has plenty of uses. Daly says, “I not only like it on toast I like it on ice cream. It’s delicious… you can’t resist.” For Sutherland, “it’s like pie in a jar.”
The 17 oz. jar retails for $12.95. Get more information on Cherry Republic by Clicking Here.