What could be a better than spending a summer day in an orchard with family or friends? How about taking a basket of cherries home with you when you’re done? The cherry season runs through June and July, so get out cherry picking and have a summer experience you won’t forget!
Why Go Cherry Picking?
-Cherry picking is fun and rewarding for the whole family–even the youngest family members will enjoy the sweet treat of a fresh picked cherry. Older family members also get to look forward to canning or cooking with the cherries when they get home.
-This activity can be done very cheaply if you just want to spend an hour or two picking cherries to snack on. Or, you can choose to spend a little more and have a lot of cherries to cook with later–you get to decide!
-Cherries are small enough to take a decent amount of time to pick, making for a great family activity. Cherry picking isn’t too labor intensive though, so you can spend an hour or two in the orchard and still have plenty of time to go home and enjoy the fresh and delicious cherries.
Tips for Picking Delicious Cherries
-Pick cherries at their peak of size and ripeness. Unlike bananas or pears, they will not ripen off the tree.
-Sweet cherries should be picked when heavy and firm, with a shiny skin and fresh stem.
-A fresh cherry stem is light in color; avoid dark colored stems.
-While cherries should be firm, they should not be hard. A hard, rock-like cherry is a sign that the cherry is beginning to spoil.
-Wrinkled skin or white spots also indicate that a cherry is going bad.
– If you leave the stems attached to the cherries, they will last longer. If you are using the cherries immediately, stems may be removed.
Tips For Your Cherry Picking Trip
-Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
-Cherry juice will stain quite badly, so wear dark clothing, or clothing you do not mind staining.
-Bring a cooler or similar container to keep cherries fresh on the way home.
-Bring water and sunscreen, cherry trees like the sun.
-Bring cash with you to the cherry farm–farmers generally do not take credit cards.
-Call the farm ahead of time to see if their cherries are ready to be picked.
-If you plan on picking a lot of cherries, get some recipes ready for when you return. You want to make sure to use all of your delicious fresh-picked cherries before they go bad.
-Do not wash cherries until you are ready to use them–cherries mold quickly when wet.
Where to Go Cherry Picking
To find a “pick your own” cherry orchard near you try http://www.pickyourown.org.
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