After the airshow yesterday, I wandered around the Open Space and took a few photos of the festivities at the National Cherry Festival – including the Benjamin Twiggs area in the vendor tent, where I loved seeing my longtime friend Ruthanne Bohrer-Agosa and my new friend Julie Millen.
There is so much good stuff there! Benjamin Twiggs Black Cherry Creme Soda, Sweet Cherry Salsa, Black Cherry Preserves, Dried Cherries, Cherry Sour Patches, Chocolate Covered Cherries and so much more. If it’s made from cherries, you’ll probably find it there.
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Oh, and their fresh cherries are straight from Wunsch Farms on the Old Mission Peninsula (yay!), while the cherries in their products are from all over the Traverse City and Leelanau County area.
Benjamin Twiggs has been around since 1966, back when I was a wee lass growing up on a cherry farm in Old Mission. Wonder where their name came from? I must admit, I didn’t know the story, which is quite adventurous. Here’s the scoop from their website:
The Legend of Benjamin Twiggs
It was the early 1700s in Kent, England. Like many families, the Twiggs family dreamed of the New World. Master Benjamin, the youngest of the Twiggs clan, listened with wonder to his father’s stories of the incredible land that awaited them. Gathering their meager belongings and some crates of cherry pits they hoped to plant, the family embarked on the long voyage overseas.
While en route, a terrible storm overcame the ship. A towering wave hurled everyone overboard. Benjamin, grabbing a crate of cherry pits, hung on for dear life. Alone and orphaned, he arrived in the New World.
Without a shilling to his name, Benjamin traveled the countryside. He went from farm to farm, town to town, working for food and shelter. One glorious spring day, he arrived in the “Land of the Sweetwater Seas” – Traverse City.
Here at last, Benjamin found the perfect place to make his family’s dream take root. Rolling hills. Warming sunshine. And cool winds off the water. Here Benjamin planted the cherry pits that had been his constant reminder of home.
His efforts were soon rewarded with a plentiful crop of luscious red cherries. Word soon spread about the wonderfully tart and tasty fruit. Benjamin happily shared his knowledge (and seedlings) with local farmers. In time, Traverse City blossomed to become the Cherry Capital of the World.
Today, the legend of Benjamin Twiggs lives on through the gourmet cherry products that carry his name.