Wild Times: It is harvest time
I love to eat! It is very obvious that I love to eat! I am not going to go through life and not enjoy the things I love to eat like pie. Oh, did I say pie? One of the great pleasures of hunting and fishing is getting to eat from the bounty that is brought home. If you are at my house and the grill is fired up, there is no telling what could be cooking underneath that lid. The same principles apply to the food that you grow in your garden.
Nothing in the world tastes better than the foodstuffs that you raise in your garden. That is why the farmers market concept is so popular. The same can be said for fruit from your own fruit trees. I love trees. I love to plant trees. There is nothing that makes a homestead more beautiful than to be surrounded by trees. There is not a year goes by that I have not planted a tree somewhere. One of the best moves I made years ago was to have planted a variety of fruit trees. I have peach, apple and cherry trees. I planted the trees with the end goal being a pie on my counter.
Oh, did I say pie? My favorite of the three varieties is the cherry trees. When the cherry trees are full of red ripe cherries there is not a more beautifully adorned tree in God’s creation. I have planted three varieties of cherry trees. I have what is called a sweet variety, a Van, that bears sweet cherries much like you see at Garrett Country Mart in the produce section. The sweet variety of cherry trees require at least two trees so they can cross pollinate to produce fruit.
I also have the sour variety of cherry trees, a Montmorency and two Balaton, which are self pollinating. This particular year — every year is different depending on the spring weather — my cherry trees are absolutely loaded with beautiful red cherries. When I say loaded, I really mean loaded! The trees have now been there several years, and I am sure that makes a difference as well, but this has been the most productive year yet for cherries. I guess where I am headed with this is that this fall you should find a spot to plant a cherry tree. If I had to pick one variety that is my favorite, I would go with the Montmorency. You would not need to plant two of them since the tree self pollinates. The Montmorency is a tart or sour type of cherry which is the kind of cherry that you want when you make a pie.
Oh, did I say pie? The Montmorency cherry is a nice plump cherry that is absolutely loaded with juice and makes the best pie in the world. Oh, did I say pie again? If you have not figured it out by now, one of my life’s greatest eating pleasures is to sit down and devour an entire pie, especially a pie that has come from one of our fruit trees.
As this spring progressed, I could see that the cherry trees were going to produce a bountiful harvest of cherries. I had no idea that the trees would be quite so loaded down, especially the Montmorency variety. I have been going out in the morning and picking a batch for a pie and doing the same thing in the evening. I am stockpiling the freezer so I can have enough to make cherry pie throughout the year. A couple of years ago, I found the best cherry pie recipe and have been using it ever since.
Paula headed to Kansas City on Sunday evening to babysit, and I headed to the orchard with a bowl and a ladder. I picked the bowl full and then sat down on the back patio and pitted them. Into the kitchen I ventured and put together the ingredients for the pie. I threw the pie in the oven for 50 minutes, and a couple of anxious hours later I dove in. This is my kind of hunting! Stalking cherries in the back yard, bagging a bowl full, and then sitting down to enjoy the fruits of the hunt.
Do yourself a favor and find a place in your back yard to plant a cherry tree. You will not be disappointed. The beautiful white spring blossoms and the red ripe cherries will add a lot to the beauty to your homestead. Be aware, though, that you might become a pie addict like me!