Today was cherry picking day!

Our cherry tree is unpredictable. I think we last had a great harvest three years ago. We got almost no cherries last year, or the year before. This year’s harvest was pretty OK.

Ingrid and Adrian quickly divided up our two step ladders and got started. In fact I believe that for them, climbing on ladders is the best part of the whole cherry picking thing.

My job was to help stabilize the stepladders (especially the taller one is a bit wobbly) and to ooh and aah over all the cherries the kids got. Adrian especially loved showing off how much he had picked.

Once we started picking we noticed that the quantity may be OK this year but the quality was not so good at all. We always have to throw some out because the birds have been at them. But this year, many cherries had a different kind of damage: they had split because of the rain we’ve been having all throughout June and July. I can’t recall having seen that before.

Today I learned that commercial growers actually use helicopters to blow-dry their cherries to keep them from cracking. Luckily for us, we don’t need our cherries to look perfect or to store well, so we kept many of the cracked berries for making jam and syrup.

Here’s the cherry sorting station, where Eric sorts them into three groups: undamaged, damaged but OK, and inedible.

Cherry jam is awesome. But we still have a fair amount of jam left from three years ago, so we don’t need any more.

Cherry pie is probably the next best thing you can make out of cherries, so that’s what I did.