I adore cherries. This is probably not a surprise, given my previously stated views on other fruits.
Therefore I doubt it will shock anyone that, when I went with some friends to Hood River for cherry picking, I got a little carried away.
It wasn’t entirely my fault. We arrived at the cherry orchard in my friend’s suburban, five kids and three moms, and grabbed a picking bucket for each family. As an afterthought, we grabbed buckets for our two oldest kids as well, Nathan and his friend Quinn. They’d undoubtedly want to participate, right?
Yeah, for about two minutes.
This is how I ended up with three buckets, standing under trees that were simply dripping with juicy dark Bings and golden, red-kissed Rainiers. (I wish so much that I’d brought my camera. It was like cherry-scented paradise.) Now, the responsible thing to do would have been to fill my single bucket and then stop. After all, even upick cherries are not free. But leaving those buckets empty would have denied deep, ingrained instincts, rooted in my love of fruit and cultivated through years of fruit-picking practice while growing up.
All this is a long way of saying that we came home with 22 pounds of cherries.
I can easily eat a pound of cherries at a sitting, but this many cherries demanded some experimentation. (Although honestly, we did eat an awful lot of them fresh. I think that cherries comprised about 30% of Ryan’s diet for a few days.) We have three jars of sweet cherry jam now, and there’s a bucket on the counter with a batch of wine brewing. Mmmm, the smell of fermentation. A gallon of pitted cherries has been tucked into the freezer, ready for future inspiration.
And the insane thing? While browsing upick places, looking for sources of other fruits, I found one closer to home advertising cherries — and the same greedy cherry-lust welled up in my belly. Perhaps, I started to think, I need just a few more pounds…