We were crossing the gas station parking lot after what must have been our third or fourth pit stop. Even though we’d only been on the road for 2 hours, a combination of excitement and large ice teas had us taking advantage of every restroom we came across.
A small, white stand sat propped up on the curb, beckoning the masses winding their way up north to stop for fresh cherries. It didn’t take too much convincing to get my friend, Emily, to pull over before leaving the rest stop. I hopped out of the car and let the woman coerce me into purchasing large bag.
We spent the rest of the drive passing the cherries back and forth and spitting their pits out the window. A rare summer weekend with no plans and a generous invite found us headed to her cousin’s place in Empire, MI. It was a restorative trip spent kayaking down crystal clear waters, eating baskets of fried smelt, and relaxing on the beach while the rays of the sun recharged our spirits.
If you’re familiar with the landscape of northern Michigan, you are probably aware that a trip to Empire would not be complete without some time spent in Glen Arbor. The small city is home to the infamous Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Cherry Republic, a landmark every cherry lover should make a pilgrimage to. They’ve turned one of Michigan’s largest export into delicious jellies, jams, salsas, candies, ice cream, and wine.
Our bottles of cherry wine we left with were clinking together in the backseat as we made our way home but our trip wouldn’t be complete without one more stop for roadside cherries. We polished off the bag before arriving home and I’m forever grateful for that relaxing weekend.
When fresh cherries started showing up in the produce aisle, I started stocking up. They’re one of my favorite summer things. Fresh cherries are made for warm evenings on the porch, sitting enough to the edge so you can spit your pits. But frozen cherries are also a gift. They come already pitted and are perfect for smoothies.
‘Hearty’ isn’t a word I regularly use to describe smoothies, but the combination of meaty cherries, full fat coconut milk, and protein from hemp hearts makes this smoothie a perfectly filling breakfast.
This smoothie tastes so much like a Michigan summer. Give it a try and tell me about it in the comments below!
Vegan Cherry Coconut Smoothie with Hemp Protein
- 1 Cup Frozen Cherries
- 1/2 Banana
- 1/2 Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 2 Tbsp Hemp Protein Powder
- 2 Tbsp Hemp Hearts
- Hand Full of Ice
- Oats, for topping (optional)
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Top with oats (optional), hemp hearts, and more cherries.