Diary of a Transplant: The Cherry-Pickers

  |  June 21, 2012

When we lived in Brooklyn, it was a seasonal rite to head upstate and pick apples. The first chill in the air causes a mass migration of city families up the interstate in search of apple orchards.

I’ve always loved this ritual, but now that we live upstate, I wonder: Why just apples?

It’s cherry season. In all the years I lived in Brooklyn and made that apple pilgrimage, I never once thought of picking cherries.

We had family visiting to celebrate Hudson’s Pride Weekend. After meeting up for a picnic lunch at Olana, we headed to Fix Bros Farm for cherries.

None of us had ever, um, cherry-picked. At least, not literally. I pictured the enormous cherry trees I’ve seen in friends’ backyards. We thought there might be ladders and that we would really have to reach and search.

Instead, these were rows of small trees covered with hundreds of cherries, with bright blue umbrellas on top (for rain protection). Recordings of predatory bird calls rang out, to scare off avian cherry-eaters.

The trees were laden with fruit so ripe and so brilliantly red, they looked fake. My two kids, my niece and our friend’s daughter fanned out across the trees and picked like it was the Cherry Olympics…which, after about five minutes, started making me nervous. Cherries are expensive!  And we hadn’t even asked about the price.

By the time we corralled the kids back, they’d amassed 14 pounds.

At $2 per pound, this set us back $28—not too bad —  and sent us home with more cherries than I’ve ever personally possessed. My sister’s partner made a cherry crumble. We sent the kids outside with bowls of cherries for snacks. We talked about freezing cherries for Thanksgiving, to make cherry flambé. My sister and family went back to Boston with cherries. I packed cherries for lunch today.

We still have more cherries than I’ve ever seen in my own fridge. It is fantastic.

Sour cherry season starts in about two weeks. I’ve never picked sour cherries…


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