29 May 2011

Cherries... not sure

The cherry tree out on the edge of the vineyard is amazing this spring. It's really loaded down with bright red fruit, and nobody is picking any of it. Not the people who came and picked a lot of cherries last year. Not me. Not even the birds.

These are so-called "sour" cherries — cerises acides — that are best used in their cooked form. Pies, clafoutis, tarts, preserves, jam, sauces either sweet for dessert or sweet-and-sour to accompany duck or pork or turkey... those are perfect uses for them.

For some reason, I'm not into it this year. I really don't need to make more confiture. I still have many jars of plum jam down in the pantry, and it's my favorite. We're not eating duck right now. And I'm finding green vegetables — haricots verts, okra, collard and mustard greens, lettuces, spinach, grapevine leaves — more appetizing than sweet-and-sour sauces to go with meat.

A friend did bring us a bag of sweet cherries that she picked in her yard, and Walt made a clafoutis and a couple of batches of cherry ice cream. All that was really good. The same friend gave us a jar of her home-made cherry sauce, which we really enjoyed over home-made vanilla ice cream. Another friend called to say her cherry trees were also really loaded down, and told us to come a pick some. We haven't taken her up on the offer.

Maybe those really succulent, juicy, dark sweet cherries killed my taste for sour cherries this year. What I do want to try, though, is growing a sour cherry tree from the pits of cherries harvested on the nearby tree. And maybe if we had one growing right in our yard, I'd be more motivated.

I may still find myself out there picking sour cherries today or tomorrow morning. We'll see.

P.S. — Two hours later. We were out working in the garden when two people came to pick cherries. Their car is not registered in our département. I went out to talk to them and ask them if they own the land that the cherry tree is on, and which adjoins our property. They said their aunt owns the land, and said: « Elle est en Bretagne, la dame. » — "The lady who owns it is in Brittany."

I don't know if that means she lives in Brittany, or is just on vacation there. Anyway, I told them I'd really like to have that land cleaned off and tended to, because it has become a huge blackberry bramble. And the blackberry vines are starting to pull down our fence. They're already growing over into our yard all along that border. Keeping them cut back is a constant battle.

They said they'd talk to their aunt about it. I understand you can require your neighbors to keep their property in good condition. You have to get agreement from the mayor. I also asked the cherry-pickers if they thought their aunt would want to sell that piece of land. They said they'd mention it to her. Maybe that's a first step. We've thought about the possibility of buying it for years.


  1. That's interesting - our cherry trees, which have produced amazingly the past 2 years, are giving very little this year.

    A lot of the cherry trees down this way are struggling, so it's not just us

  2. Hungarians make a very delicious sour cherry soup which is served cold in hot weather......It made with sour cream and sometimes a little cinnamon and/or lemon. You can google for recipes. It is very refreshing in hot weather.


    I don't know anyone who makes this with sweet cherries, although some online recipes mention it.

  3. Your photos are lovely. The drought may be making your cherry trees produce well, nature seems to have great intuition.

    How much land does that lady from Brittany own? Is that the same plot of land that has those yummy yellow plums? You live among vines and orchards-sympa.

  4. Good strategy, Ken. La dame might prefer to sell the property rather than be forced to maintain it. ;)

    Where does it join your property? I'm trying to picture it.


  5. Our cherry tree is still a baby; this is it's first season in our "orchard"
    But it looks very healthy and full of promise for the future. I'm really looking forward to when it looks like those pictured in your post.


  6. Let's hope that aunt is real! I would say that the land was my aunt's even if it wasn't so. Hey I don't want anyone to know that I was pilfering some sour cherries. LOL

  7. "Scarpetta dolcetto home cookery..." posted a lovely sweet cherry pie recipe last week. (It's on my facebook page).

  8. Thinking of spreading out, eh? Soon, you'll have a full-fledged farm (or vineyard).

  9. We have a sour cherry tree. The pigeons love sour cherries. I thought we'd have a crop to pick; it was looking really good. Two days later half the cherries were gone and there were 2 very big pigeons on the branches. By the weekend, there were no cherries left.
    Tomatoes are coming along fine this year.

  10. Hi BettyAnn, the side of our property I'm talking about is the one opposite the side along the road. It's the long side, and it's getting really overgrown.

    Kristi, I'm going out to see if there are any cherries left on the tree. If there are, chilled cherry soup sounds scrumptious.

    Simon, the other cherry trees in our neighborhood are pretty much bare. Only this one is laden with fruit.

    Bill, I hope your trees soon are loaded down with cherries.

    Evelyn, yes, the yellow plum tree is right next to the cherry tree that I took pictures of. I'm not sure how much land the Brittany woman owns. Maybe a lot, because it's a long, narrow strip. It is not zoned for building so is pretty much worthless, I'm told.

    Islandgirl, I know what you mean, LOL. If somebody asked me the same question when I was out there pilfering cherries, I might give the same answer! Shhh.

    Ellen, I see pigeons all around but those cherries must be too sour for them!

  11. breakfast for learning14 June, 2011 21:08

    do you mind writing me a person email as I have a question about your cherry tree pictures? I couldn't find a way to contact you directly,


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