For the past few months I've been putting up fruit from trusty sources I've already featured on the blog, mostly strawberries from Medina. And there ain't nothing wrong with that! But last week I was talked into a trip to Brentwood for some good old fashioned cherry picking. We headed to a newly organic orchard, Enos Family Farms.
I think for every kind of fruit picking, I have an idyllic scene from a children's book indelibly associated. For apples, it's Prince Caspian. For cherries, it's The Boxcar Children!
"Eat all you want," said Mrs. Moore. "The cherries are beautiful this year."
The children didn't eat all they wanted, but every now and then a big red cherry went into someone's mouth. Henry and the girls went up the ladders and began to pick cherries. Watch barked for awhile. He did not like to have Jessie climbing the ladder. Then he sat down and looked at her up in the tree. Benny hurried here and there, carrying baskets to the pickers and eating all the cherries he wanted. Everyone in the orchard liked Benny. The doctor laughed delightedly at him, and sweet Mrs. Moore fell in love with him at once. By and by he sat down beside her and carefully filled small baskets with cherries from the big baskets.
Well, the cherries are also beautiful in this non-fictional year, if late due to the rain. My dad and I didn't get to climb any ladders and we surely didn't get paid $4 and all the cherries we could carry. But it was a perfect summer day out in the orchard and you can bet that every now and then a big red cherry did go into our mouths. And into the pockets of my cherry-picking apron (pictured above.)
We hauled away buckets with 2 kinds of cherries and paid the attendant, who turned out to be something like the nephew-in-law of the owner (who is himself a fifth generation farmer in the area.) The nephew said he's there all day, 6 days a week. When asked if he was sick of cherries yet he fondly pointed out the closest tree - "no one wants to pick the one up front, so it's my snack tree!"
The bounty of plump, juicy Lapin cherries I have been pushing on everyone I know as eatin' cherries. Some website I have now misplaced calls the extra large Lapins "a mouthful in themselves."
Yesterday I pitted 8 pounds of Sweetheart cherries. Sweethearts (also pictured above) are your basic big red storybook cherries. They look like a slightly smaller version of the Lapins but are more intense in flavor, so I saved them for canning. I put up regular old cherry jam for the very first time, and then got daring with raspberry-cherry-balsamic. YUM. Apparently my littlest housemate got some in a PB&J this morning and kept signing for "more!"