A few weeks ago, I put my name on the call list for sweet cherries at our local orchard. And then, bit by bit, the sour cherries from our own trees started ripening. My older daughter picked them every couple days and I spent hours in the kitchen pitting the (occasionally) wormy bits of sour. We ended up squirreling away a fair amount. Not a lot, but enough, probably. Maybe we didn’t need to bother with sweet cherries after all?
But then mid morning on Saturday, we got the call from the orchard: The cherries are ready. Come any time. So we dutifully grabbed containers—not too many so I wouldn’t be tempted to overdo it—and zipped over the back roads to the orchard.
The farmer greeted us. “Want to jump on that picker and I’ll lift you up into the tree?”
We hopped on and up up up we went, the branches, heavy with cherries, hitting us in the face and legs.
The cherries were enormous and perfect and juicy. For nearly 30 minutes, we picked without ever moving from that spot, only stopping when every single container was full.
At one point my son, who, in his cherry-picking enthusiasm, chattered non-stop, shouted, “I got a clunch!” and we burst out laughing. A clunch, we decided, was the wordchild of cluster and bunch.
Back home, my husband and older daughter pitted away the rest of the afternoon while I scurried around filling jars (7 quarts) and freezer boxes (9 quarts), and making a sweet cherry pie and a batch of roasted cherry vanilla and chocolate ice cream.
Because now we’re all done.)