Saturday, June 27, 2009

Life is just a bowl of cherries

I think cherries must be the most generous of fruits. They give and give and give...and ask for very little in return.
Friday was a perfect day, and Chuck and I went over the mountain into Adams County to pick cherries. Last year, cherry season was very short, and we missed it entirely- in fact, I stopped at the orchard on a Wednesday to see if they were still picking, and when we got there on Friday to pick, the cherries were gone. We worried that while we were out of town to celebrate our grand daughter's first birthday we would miss the season again this year. Turns out we had no need to fear- this was the first week of picking. The trees were laden with fruit- a million rubies hanging above our heads. I suspect the season will again be short- it looked like everything was ripe already.

We picked at Boyer Nurseries and Orchards, just outside of Biglerville, PA. When you check in, you are given a bucket- I think it must hold about 2 or 2.5 gallons, and for $21, you fill them as full as you can. Chuck picked the big, black sweet cherries, climbing a ladder to get ones from the top of the tree. He filled 2 buckets from just one tree. I picked sour cherries, although the ones I ate right from the tree, warm from the sun and juicy, were sweet enough for me. I filled 1.5 buckets from one tree, and then topped off my second bucket with sweet cherries.

Chuck got a good deal on a flat of seconds black cherries for making wine. We brought along these ginormous zip-lock bags to bring the fruit home. Once we got back home, we remembered that, back when our second refrigerator had broken over the winter, we had no money to repair it, and thus we had no room to store this abundance of fruit*. As a stop-gap measure, we packed the Ziplock bags in coolers with ice.

We spent Saturday and Sunday evenings washing and pitting. I froze 10 quarts or so for use in smoothies and baking during the winter; we dried some, and then Chuck ground most of the rest for wine making. And, of course, we kept some to eat fresh. Our grand-daughter, here visiting her mom's family and having her SECOND first birthday party certainly likes them!
Boyer also has pick your own blueberries. Since we had never picked blueberries before, we thought we would give them a try. They are also a generous fruit!

In just a few minutes after picking the cherries we got about 5 pints of blueberries. I like to wash them in my salad spinner, and then carefully spin off some of the water. When we moved to Pennsylvania, one of my sisters gave me a blueberry bush that, probably due to my neglect, failed to thrive. I was sad about that since it had been a gift from my sister, but now I am REALLY sad, having seen the huge amounts of berries on just one bush.
I wish this was a better picture of the bush. Chuck took it with his phone. Below are the berries in the salad spinner. Not a rotten one in the bunch. Some are a little on the green side- you get this when you take a color blind person to pick blueberries!

*storing abundances of fruit is of course, the main reason we have a second refrigerator.

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