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At last month’s Fancy Food Show in NYC, we stumbled upon a booth that is a mixologist’s dream come true. (Before I tell you about it, first let me ask: When did bartenders stop being called bartenders and morph into mixologists? What is the proper etiquette in terms of whether you call someone a bartender or a mixologist? If anyone can educate me, I’d be truly grateful).

shirley_temple.jpgNow, back to our discoveries. It was a small booth that was humming with activity. Okay, so it could have been the neat little bar, complete with an accomplished mixologist, that really kept the joint jumping, but after sampling their wares, I understood.

The booth was Tillen Farms. Their products ranged from pickled veggies like dilly beans, crispy carrots and asparagus, both spicy and regular; all absolutely delish and perfect on an antipasti platter or as natural and edible stirrers in your favorite bar drink!

But the item that really caught my eye was a jar of all-natural maraschino cherries, aptly named Merry Maraschino Cherries. They really took me back. As a kid, I loved the few times that we got to eat out at a local restaurant, usually lunch since money was tight, and I always, always, always ordered a Shirley Temple. As an adult, I learned how commercial maraschino cherries were made and that was the end of my love affair with them… that is, until now.

These amazing little gems are not the syrupy-sweet, artificial cherries of yore, but, instead, delightful little real-tasting cherries, grown in Washington state, and created without using artificial colors, flavors, sulfites, preservatives or any other nasty chemicals. They are firm and delicious.

All I need now is to run out to get some ginger ale and search for the grenadine in the back of the cupboard. Time for some Shirley Temples.

[Photo credit: loveloveshine/Mariko]

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