Growing up near Lewistown – the “Chokecherry Capitol of Montana” – I have always been nutty about Chokecherries. It’s part cultural, but mostly I just love their bitter, numbing flavor.
With chokecherries in full-bloom right now—their delicate blossoms filling the air with a thick, sweet scent—I’m thinking about my favorite products derived from them, like Kathy’s Creations—a line of jams, jellies and syrups made by central Montana Hutterite, Kathy Walter.
Kathy is a member of the Spring Creek Hutterite Colony, which is located at the base of the South Moccasin Mountains along Spring Creek thirteen miles northwest of Lewistown. Kathy picks the berries herself and processes them in the colony’s commercial kitchen. She also leads tours of the colony. My kids and I met Kathy when she gave us a tour a couple years ago.
Kathy can be found every Saturday from June through the first weekend in October at her booth in the Lewistown Farmers Market at Simms Park. The only exception is the second Saturday in September, when her booth moves to Main Street for Chokecherry Festival. Kathy wears a traditional headscarf and a warm smile behind rows of stacked jars of Chokecherry Syrup and homemade jellies: Chokecherry Jalapeño Pepper, Jalapeño Strawberry, Jalapeño Raspberry, Jalapeño Peach and Green Pepper.
I stock up on Chokecherry Jalapeño because my family loves to substitute it for Jalapeño Jelly that is called for in Robin Miller‘s Brown Sugar-Roasted Chicken with Jalapeño Jelly recipe, from her cookbook Robin Takes 5: 500 Recipes, 5 Ingredients or Less, 500 calories or less, 5 nights a week at 5:00PM, published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, LLC.
If you have a favorite chokecherry product or recipe, I’d love to hear about it! Comment below or leave us a message our Facebook page.
P.O. Box 361
Lewistown, MT. 59457