I’ve been trying to post this for a few days now, but I’ve had technical difficulties. You know, the kind where your computer develops a nasty case of I hate you and I refuse to do your bidding.
But we’ve solved (fingers crossed anyway) our glitch and I can tell you that we went cherry picking at Spring Valley Orchard and brought home TWENTY POUNDS of cherries. Sweet, dark, delicious juicy cherries.
You know, at first I thought maybe twenty pounds was a lot. Too much, even. But you know what? It takes an hour to get to this place, and it takes a whole lotta cherries to make pie, make preserves, make drunken cherries (more on these to come), give some to friends and family and still have plenty left for just plain snacking. It makes me wish I could grow my own.
We lucked out that they opened on a day that was not too hot or humid, or too sunny either. In years past we’ve finished up at the orchard red, hot, thirsty and grumpy.
Not this year.
Of course, stopping at Starbucks on the way and picking up a giant Mocha – Coconut Frappuccino didn’t hurt.
We also didn’t sample them this time. We realized that they spray the bejeebers out of these trees to ensure decent yields, so we washed them thoroughly before using them. It was very,very hard to wait. It would be nice for there to be an organic orchard here, but I don’t honestly think it’s feasible in these parts on a commercial scale.
When I got home with my 20 lbs of cherries I had the idea that they should sell cherry stoners at the check – out stand. I ended up going into Charlottesville to buy one.
It was hard tearing the girls away from the trees – they would have kept on picking all day if we’d let them. And I might have, if not for the cost (cherries aren’t cheap!).
It’s quite a remote spot, this orchard. You feel as though you’re heading further and further into nowhere (though it’s beautiful). There’s a quaint old cemetery behind the stand surrounded by a stone wall, giving the impression that it may have been an old homestead at one point.
It felt remote and somewhat lonesome, but what a view!
As soon as we got home we ate at least two big bowls full of cherries. Then I began the arduous task of washing, drying and freezing several bags. One bag went to Juniper Moon Farm and two bags went to my parents as an early Father’s Day and a Happy Birthday to my mother. Yet another bag became a cherry pie. The pie barely lasted a day. Even my husband, who professed a deep dislike for cherry pie all his life, devoured it. I believe he may have eaten half that pie himself.
And that’s when it hit me.
Twenty pounds of cherries is nowhere near enough.
Oh, I can’t wait for cherries to be ready up here! I may take your advice and get more than I think I could ever use, and a cherry stoner in advance. Do you pit them before you freeze them, and I assume they have to be really dry?
YES! To all. Get a cherry stoner, it makes ALL the difference. Pit them and dry them thoroughly before freezing. I read that leaving the pit in will give them an off flavor if frozen that way. I’ll be posting my Brandied Cherry Jam process soon, too. 🙂