I made sure and strolled up and down the rows looking for some beauties. They were all around me; each one prettier than the other. How can one choose in such situations?
We've had a lot of rain so I was worried about the quality of fruit; have no fear I sampled plenty (quality control purposes). I bought plenty too; 17 pounds ought to hold me over for a week or so.
Here are a couple of tips for you if you want to come out and haul home a score like this one:
1) Bring shoes that you don't mind getting dirty and scraping the mud off of, these are farms after all.
2) Bring the kids, especially if you live in the city and they don't have the chance to go pick their own fruit. You would be amazed at how much better they think it tastes when they have picked it themselves.
3) Go online to http://harvest4you.com/ and get a map of all the u-picks and farm stands in the area.
4) Some of the farms have picnic areas where you can eat your bounty or there are a few restaurants if you head downtown.
5) You don't need any special equipment, just your sense of adventure.
Did I mention all the money you will save, I paid $2.50 a pound for the ones I picked. You better be quick though, I figure they will only last a couple more weeks.
My daughter helped me wash and sort them all. She thought they were so pretty she grabbed my camera and got this shot for you. I love it, all the training is paying off.
Can you believe that first 17 pounds was gone by the end of the weekend? I went to a Brunch at Lemons and Anchovies Headquarters with fellow Bay Area Bloggers, it was a wonderful way to spend the day and I brought a tart to the brunch I will share with you shortly. Great food and great company, I can't think of a better way to spend the day.
I usually plan two or three trips to get all the cherries I want. I have a special guest (Robbyn) arriving in Mid July and per her request I have prepared a couple of jars of Brandied Cherries. They were something my Grandpa always made and had on hand. They are perfect for having on hand when you want to drop one in a Manhattan; I pitted mine so they can be ladled over ice cream.
3 pounds sweet cherries, pitted
3 cups Brandy (1 - 750 ml bottle)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 strips of lemon zest
In a small saucepan combine Brandy and sugar, turn heat on to medium and cook until sugar is melted. No need to bring to a boil, take off the heat and set aside.
Sterilize two 1 quart Mason jars and fill with pitted cherries. Insert strip of lemon zest in each jar and cover with Brandy mixture. Put lid on tightly and store in a dark place for 6 weeks.
I received a really great question from Angela - Recipes from my Mom; she wanted to know what cherry pitter I like. I don't usually specify equipment, but in general I prefer simplicity. I have an OXO handheld one, I've had it a couple of years and it's still going strong. I bought mine at Bed Bath and Beyond, but I have seen their products almost everywhere.