45 Minutes and The Cherries Are Sour


In 45 minutes, I can pick 9 pounds of sour cherries. It’s a pleasant 45 minutes, in the orchard, with views of the pasture and the hills. It’s relaxing even if it’s hot. If I am lucky the gnats are on the other side of the tree.

In 45 minutes, I can pit 3 pounds of sour cherries. (that means 135 minutes to pit 9 pounds!) It’s not quite as pleasant a task to do by oneself, the juice running down my hands, slowly drying to staining stickiness – it would be much better to do it with a friend or two as at least you can chat to relieve the tediousness. But pitted they all are, as my nails (which would often make a nail salon weep anyway — or maybe sing as they could make a small fortune working on them?) prove it. Sour cherry juice oxidizes. Which is one reason that you want to process them as soon as they are pitted.

  • 3 pounds are macerating overnight for jam tomorrow
  • 1.5 pounds went into a fantastic Polish cherry cake.
  • 1.5 pounds pureed for sorbet – or ice cream, not decided yet. It’s chilling overnight to be processed tomorrow… or the day after.
  • 1 pound tossed with a little sugar to make a raw compote.

Next week, picking sweet cherries along with a friend. And more sour cherries too, I hope, if the birds leave me some. Or any. I want to turn some into liqueur and freeze a lot.

This is the time of the year where food preservation starts in earnest. And I still need to plant stuff! Okra seeds are soaking as well as more green beans to help germination, and some sweet potatoes are still patiently waiting in their Mason jar with a nice set of rootlets… But the harvest cannot wait and so I freeze, can & jam the early fruit: strawberries still; cherries now; in a few days, currants; blueberries are not far behind (I have just called my favorite pick-your own blueberry patch); wild black raspberries at the same time as the blueberries; at the end of the month the wild blackberries shortly followed by the wine berries. And I hope – somewhere in between – a few gallons a apricots.

That harvest will be extremely welcome come winter. It’s welcome now too, of course. But when the dark days come, a raspberry smoothie, a blueberry cobbler, spelt waffles with peaches and elderberry syrup, a side of sour cherries with a pork roast¬† – all local fruit – are to things to be particularly thankful for..



4 thoughts on “45 Minutes and The Cherries Are Sour”

  • I live sort of near Rapahhanock (Gloucester county) and haven’t had any luck on the pick your own website in finding sour cherry orchards.. Do you know of any in your area?

  • Hi Sarah, Cherries may not do as well where you are since the tidewater area is warmer than the Piedmont – which is why you may not have luck finding any in your area. You are likely by the mouth of the Rappahannock River if you are in Gloucester County. Rappahannock County where I am in about 175 miles up river, at the headwaters of the Rappahannock River. So I think orchards in my area are like 4 or 5 hours from you? If you are willing to drive that much, then Hartland in Markham (Hartlandorchard.com) has both sweet and sour cherries in their pick-your own. Good luck! (I feel for you, but then again, you can grow figs quite easily…)

  • Will_drive_to_make_Grandma’s Thanksgiving_sour_cherry_pie!

    Thanks! Well, with no traffic it is 3 hours and 20 minutes, which is closer than the Levering Orchard which is in southwestern Virginia (5.5 hours). I am glad I asked because I thought Hartland only had sweet cherries and I am pleasantly surprised. I was initially looking at going to Crooked Branch (Appotomax area), but sadly the town took over their orchard of sour cherries to build a highway through it.

    Right on with the figs–Neighbors beg me to put their figs to good use, and there are several varieties growing here. It’s a welcome and new challenge–you couldn’t find a fresh fig where I grew up.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.