Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Solstice Fruition

Fruit picking. What a wonderful way to honor the solstice by  reaping the bounty that comes from these long days. The three ladies that come by Itty Bitty once a week to learn homesteady stuff, Vanessa, Niki, and Erika,  took a little jaunt with me over to Brentwood for some cherry and apricot picking. It was a beautiful day, though a touch on the warm side for this San Franciscan. Up on the ladders, I could feel a tickle behind my knees as the sweat dripped down my legs in the 100 degree heat. You know it's hot if I'm perspiring. I don't sweat unless it's really freakin' toasty.

The cherries were plump. juicy, and full of flavor. Here's Vanessa gathering a handful.

Vanessa brought her four-year-old nephew, Kai, who had a great time picking off the low branches. We went to Enos Family Farms, the only certified organic u-pick in Brentwood, where they keep the trees pruned so that the branches are low enough for hand-picking. Keeps it engaging for the little ones.

We also picked up some Blenheim apricots, which were in the transitional stage of becoming organic (it takes three years of no chemical inputs to become certified).

These little babies were oh-so-sweet with an excellent texture. I even ate them raw. Not my preferred way to enjoy an apricot as they tend to be mealy in their uncooked state.

Not these guys.

My plan was for the four of us to come back from the picking for a jam party, but that was too much to tackle in one day. Especially since I came back with 21 pounds of cherries and 10 pounds of apricots. When my daughter caught a glimpse of the booty I brought home she said, "Mommy are you going to take the pits out of all those cherries tonight? I don't think you should do that. You'll be up all night and you need your rest."

I took her advice and only pitted half the cherries yesterday. Today I am all day in the kitchen whipping up cherry pickles, cherry olives, two kinds of cherry jam, and putting up the rest in the freezer. I'll post recipes this week.

What about the apricots, you ask? I'll be trying out some apricot tangelo butter, apricot ginger and apricot brandy jam. But I'll save that for tomorrow. A girl can only do so much in a day.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Wow, that's a lot of fruit! I do love cherries.

  2. Oh, I am jealous, we've just had Winter solstice, and I am looking forward to the warmer weather arriving here in Australia...

  3. What gorgeous fruit! Say, what do you think of those "fruit cocktail" trees, where they graft branches from several different fruit trees on to one root stock? Ever had one? Just looking for ways to save space...

  4. @ dixiebelle - i'm so honored that i have a reader in australia!

    @ Kris - yes! i love the grafted trees. this last year i went to our area's scion exchange and put 20 grafts on our trees. unfortunately the goats broke into the garden and ate most of them, BUT 3 did take. yay! next year I'll try again.