LaCross Farms, in Leelanau County, partnered with Wahlburgers at Home to create a cherry plant based burger. LaCross Farms provides the cherries that are necessary to make the burgers.
Wahlburgers at Home is a fast growing meat company started up by the famous Wahlberg brothers.
“We see this as being an opportunity to leverage their celebrity influence for the good of the cherry industry, but also to help move a product that they’re very proud of.” says Ben LaCross, the manager of the farm and a farmer himself.
The name of the burger is the Flex Blend Burger. LaCross says the name stems from the term flexitarian. Meaning not completely vegetarian or carnivore.
Although the burger has cherries in it, it doesn’t actually taste like cherries.
“There’s a little bit more of a mild flavor to the burger because there is a little bit less fat in the product, and that’s due to the cherries, but you’re not going to taste cherry in that like you would taste cherry in another product.” says LaCross.
The Flex Blend Burger can be found in most SpartanNash stores in Michigan. It can also be found at Roche Brothers market in Massachusetts, where Wahlburgers is based out of. But LaCross says they want to expand to stores throughout the county. Although the burger can only be found mainly in Michigan, LaCross is excited to share his burgers with a larger customer base.
“We have really worked long and hard to expand new products to help consumers eat the wonderful fruit that we grow.” LaCross says. “It’s an easy way for people to eat tart cherries, enjoy the health benefits of tart cherries, and to help the farmers of northern Michigan sell more cherries.”
LaCross Farms secured this partnership with the help of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians.
“Our partners with the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians has just been instrumental in putting this together.” LaCross says. “They really spearheaded this effort along with the Wahlburger team.”
LaCross is excited for what they have in store, and couldn’t be more happy that they were able to get the burger out in time for the National Cherry Festival.
“To actually see it being sold and the customers really liking it this year, is really satisfying for us.” says LaCross.