A Very Cherry Weekend

Photos tell the story of a fabulous harvest from our 20-foot Montmorency cherry tree. On Saturday morning, while I cleared the lower branches of the glowing fruit, Hubby climbed the ladder to pick all he could reach. 123

These tart or pie cherries are translucent and seem lit from within, unlike sweet cherries that are opaque. While picking, we wondered about the relatively late harvest, remembering picking at the beginning of July in previous years. We chatted about last year’s meager harvest, when a late spring frost knocked off most of the blossoms. We marveled at the beauty of pollination, reflecting on how each cherry had been kissed by a pollinating insect or by the wind to create the fruit. We picked. LOTS. We are Pickers after all.



After about two hours, we carried our treasure up to the house and weighed it. We’d picked 22 pounds of cherries.


While I began sorting, rinsing, and pitting (and hunting for my giant steam table pan to store the bounty in) Hubby returned to the orchard and picked another six pounds. He’s funny that way.



Tart cherries require refrigeration to stay freshest. It’s best to leave them intact with stem on while in the fridge.


Once pitted or even just de-stemmed, they brown quickly so it’s important to freeze them or cook with them right away. I spent hours yesterday and today pitting then freezing cherries on trays. The vivid fruit reminds me of the sour ball candies at this stage, but they really are surprisingly tart! I then place the individually-frozen cherries into freezer containers to use in recipes. So far I’ve frozen eight trays, or over 15 pounds worth. We’ll use the remaining fresh cherries in desserts this week, and I’ll can pie filling tomorrow.


An abundance of cherries remains for arriving houseguests to have a go at picking. I like to put visitors to work! Also, all the highest branches still hold lots of fruit to keep Coppertop birds happy for weeks.


19 thoughts on “A Very Cherry Weekend

  1. Montmorency was a pollinator for some of the sweet cherries that used to grow in the vast orchards of Sunnyvale. However, no one seems to remember them. We remember the many sweet cherry trees, and we know that there were various pollinators strategically plotted out in the orchards with them, but no one remembers much more than that. I can remember some of the pollinators that were other types of sweet cherries, but have never seen a tart cherry tree.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, now you’ve seen ours, Tony! They are large, relatively pest free compared to other cherry trees, and hugely productive. I’ve learned that once people become familiar with these cherries or were able to purchase them at some farm stand in the northern states, they wax poetic about the cherries for years…

      Liked by 1 person

      • ‘Bing’ cherry is what everyone here remembers, although not many remember why it was so commonly grown. Apricots and prunes were grown mostly for drying. Not many apricots were exported fresh. The sweet cherries were neither dried nor canned, but no one remembers them being sent away fresh either. ‘Supposedly’, there might have been a single orchard of tart cherries to the north of Sunnyvale, near Santa Clara. I think it is just a myth.

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  2. What a wonderful crop and lots of work to go with it. You’ll be enjoying cherries all winter. I like that the tree is tall and the birds can have their fill too as you share the bounty with them. Lovely photos!


    • I’ve heard that these are difficult to find to buy. Perhaps it also has to do with their rather short shelf life. That, and folks don’t preserve foods like they used to. I’ve never seen a “Pick you own Sour Cherries” place, unlike sweet cherries.


  3. That is quite a load of cherries! You really are keeping busy right up to the minute company arrives 😉
    They look so attractive, but I remember how sour they can be! I always ended up being the one who picked the cherries off my parent’s tree. I don’t think we ever had quite that many but it was a smaller tree.


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