Thursday, May 22, 2008

Defending Our Cherries

One of the nice surprises we discovered after we bought this farm is the cherry tree in the back yard. I'd never seen a cherry tree before, so I didn't identify it for the longest time. It's clumped in amongst the lilac bushes, so at first I just assumed it was some kind of ornamental shrub. Even after it formed fruit the first year, I ignored it, thinking it was some kind of crabapple, and not worth harvesting.

The following year, on a whim, I tasted one of the "crabapples" and figured out what we had. Yummy delicious cherries, free in our back yard! But things were busy and I was going out of town, so I didn't harvest any.

Last year, I had good intentions to harvest some. I checked the tree regularly, waiting for the day when they would be ripe. The day I thought they would be just about perfect, our neighborhood crows got up several hours earlier than I did, and stripped the tree bare before I could get a single one!

This year, we have a bumper crop, just starting to turn red. The crows and other birds have already been checking them, but they're not quite ripe yet. We don't have much time left to stake our claim to our share of the treasure.

So Ken went to the local farm store and got some bird netting. The tree is large and the majority of the cherries will be well out of our reach, so the birds are welcome to them. But we draped the netting all around on the part of the tree that we can reach, hoping that will protect at least a little of the crop for us.

I tasted one of the not-quite-ripe fruits today. It's still very tart, but wow, what a flavor. I'll have to decide what to do with the cherries I pick. Eat them fresh? Make a pie? Freeze them? Dry them? Make a cherry cordial? I'm a whiz at making home-made cordials---I've taught workshops on it, and have developed dozens of recipes.

I guess what I do with them will depend on how many we get. I'm just looking forward to getting SOME, for a change.


Cheap Like Me said...

Mmm, cherry pie ...

We have an adolescent (or maybe "tween"?) cherry tree in our back yard. I am excited because this year, we have at least a handful of cherries growing. (They are in their infancy -- we are in Denver, and the cherry tree is at least a zone colder, in the shady of a wood fence.)

heather said...

I vote for a cherry cordial for our July gathering!! :)

Amy - "Twelve Acres" said...

Cherry cordials sound great! I have a very small Black Tartarian cherry seedling. I can't wait for it to reach fruiting size!