Thursday, 16 July 2009

Cherry Baby!

Do you remember back in April, we went down to Northiam on the Kent/East Sussex border to see the cherry blossom?  (Remind yourself here if you like.)  Seeing the cherry blossom was nice but of course, no way can it compare with the actual harvest of the cherries, that luscious deep ruby red fruit, all plump and succulent.  Yes, there is no greater cherry than an English cherry just picked from the tree.  The season for English cherries is, of course, all too short lasting but a few weeks.  Our particular variety of cherry (Colney) was forecasted to be ready for harvest from 16-26 July. Today of course, is the first of those days so with my lovely bloggy pal Lesley having abandoned me for Up North (!), off I set to amuse myself in the countryside.

This way then...

It's a very ramshackle place but it's just how you want it to be.  No machinery required here, thank you.  No plastic containers, no supermarket stickers.

A few lucky folks employed by Rent-a-Cherry-Tree have the arduous task of basking in the sunshine by the gates to the cherry tree field, ready to welcome us pickers and remind us of the cherry picking rules.  You must gently pull the cherry stalks upwards, making sure you do not disturb the leaves and the tiny little buds next to them which shall yield next year's precious crop.

Off you go then, Hen.  Just in case you forget where your tree is, it's in Row 13, tree 45B!

I look forwards.  There's nothing but laden cherry trees.

It's exactly the same when I look behind me, too!

Ah, here we are.  Row 13, tree 45B, remember!  Pull back the netting which keeps those voracious birdies at bay, and let me at 'em!


Looks to be a good crop.

Oh golly, they look delicious!  There's been quite a lot of rain this year though, so a lot of the fruit is splitting.  Good job I came to pick today and didn't wait any longer.   

I feel a bit sorry for myself as I note that the renters of the tree next to ours are there picking too. There are three of them.  Three adults including a big tall strapping bloke to pick all the cherries at the top of the tree.  There are a lot of cherries.  A lot.  For tree 45B, the picking team consists of just yours truly!  The Munchkin is sadly still in school and because of the heavy rain forecast tomorrow, I decided I couldn't wait to pick the cherries when my sister comes to stay next week.  We'll find something else to do.  Like go to Liberty, perhaps.  I do implore the very nice Polish chap who showed me the way to our tree to linger and perhaps help me reach the ones high up.  How kind of him.

Better just taste one... errm, maybe two, then... or three(?) to make sure they are ok.  Oh my, oh yes, they are the best!

How many have I eaten now?  Oooh, I've lost count but my tummy is starting to ache!

I soon get lost in the task.  Not a bad day's work, picking cherries in the lovely peaceful, sunny English countryside, sampling the odd cherry, thinking about all sorts of things, trying to think up as many recipes as possible which include cherries!

A couple of hot hours later, they're all picked.  Off I go, back home, with my ruby treasure.

Please feel free to pass on your bestest cherry recipes!


  1. mmmm yummy they look delicious!! how many things are you going to make with those ?!
    have a lovely weekend :-)

  2. Hi sweetie, remember me...I have been sooooooooooo busy at work I have neglected all my blogging...I have felt physically battered I have been so tired....but the good news is that I am finally coming up for air...I may even manage a catch up post...and I have lots of wonderful knitting projects and super books to read this summer...hope you are well...I have missed eveyone...those cherrie's look lovely....

  3. Hello, Hen - what a lovely haul of English cherries! My best recipe, much loved by all the family every May when our French cherries ripen, is at the bottom of this post:

    I'd love to hear if it goes down as well chez vouz!

  4. They look delicious..cherries are my favourite. Cherry jam perhaps? I'm afraid I've caught the bug, after the strawberry I picked gooseberries and made them into jam. My family are lucky they still here rather then peering from inside sticky looking jars..I have got rather carried away!

  5. I am sitting here drooling, those cherries look sooooo delicious! I very fondly remember our fruit picking days when the boys were little. Picked all sorts of things, but not cherries. I am very tempted now though.

  6. look at all those yummy cherries!
    what a fantastic idea to rent a tree :-)

    I don't have any cherry recipes I'm afraid, but I look forward to seeing what you do with them all!

    Rose XXX

  7. They look gorgeous! My dad makes an Amaretti compote with his cherries! x

  8. Oh my goodness I have never ever heard of this before what a wonderful idea!
    Love all your cherries you have so so many xx

  9. Hi Hen
    Oh what fun you must have had! As a child I used to pick them off the trees as we walked by some orchards. This is when I used to live in France. The cherries were huge, dark red and juicy. We had such fun climbing up the tree to get to them. But I also remember the tummy aches... so good, we often ate too many in one go...
    What a fantastic idea to rent a cherry tree.
    Take care
    Isabelle x

  10. Wow...what a lovely luscious haul of cherries. Oooh...cherry jam, cherry sauce, and just cherries, cherries, cherries, oh and of course the obligatory cherry earrings!!

    Sue xx

  11. How wonderful! They look delicious.We had some cherries recently , they were gorgeous and didn't make the inside of my mouth itch at all!(I don't why it happens to me but it doesn't stop me from eating them)How about a cherry pie?
    Rachel x

  12. What a lovely way to spend a day and don't they look delicious. For me the ultimate cherry dessert has to be black forest gateau!! Haven't made it in years I am ashamed to say. my neighbour used to have a tree and we made a delicious wine and also cherry brandy..yummy and so nice to make now for xmas. Dev x

  13. Yum, cherries! And what a lot! I live in Kent but have never picked cherries, so I am very jealous!
    I have no recipes but I do have a cherry tip! Did you know that eating cherries before betime could help you sleep better? This is because cherries contain loads of melatonin, a hormone which helps improve natural sleep patterns!
    Sweet dreams!
    Ali :)

  14. What a fantastic way to spend a day in the sun. Glad you got to that tree in time!

    Beyond the classic cherry pie, I will offer no recipe ideas. I just like to eat perfectly ripe cherries as they are.

    (Looking forward to that weekend Liberty's excursion that just might take place.)

    Cheers. xo

  15. How wonderful do your cherries look. What a lovely day you must have had picking that beautiful harvest.

  16. They look so good, wish we could grow cherries here in Aus! I just paid $16.99/kg in the supermarket yesterday for a small treat for the kids! Thanks for sharing your day.

  17. I bet that was fun!
    I wonder if the people next to you were thinking it odd that you were snapping pics!
    You certainly managed to pick quite a lot of cherries,even though you were on your own!

  18. Hi Hen,
    How divine, your own cherry tree!
    Cherry Clafoutis is my absoloute favourite, especially if they are just going over a little!The best recipes are Fran Warde in The French Kitchen and Sarah Raven in her Garden Cook book.
    Have a cherry-tastic weekend x

  19. What a lovely, relaxing way to soend a day! x

  20. I love cherries, so I'm officailly a bit jealous, in the nicest possible way of course! They look simply divine. Tell me, how are you going to consume all those cherries without a bit of tummy upset? I could always help you share the burden of eating them of course!
    Love Vanessa xxx (do you mind if i knit)

  21. Wow! Lucky you - lots of cherry jam me thinks!

  22. You did well Hen! I don't have any cherry recipes, they don't hang around long enough in my house....OH loves them! I planted a tree this year but it hasn't done anything yet :(
    How come you got the sun??? It's like October here in sunny Devon!! :) x

  23. Cherries are my absolute favorite fruit for picking and eating all on their own!! I wish I knew of local crops out here so I could go off with a basket. How do you find out about these sort of things? I have to fight off jealousy with this... :-)

  24. Hello Hen...

    Thank you, the place the paper was from had totally slipped my mind!

    Its very sweet, think it may be too much for olly, roll to do a small bathroom would not hurt, maybe I ought to buy one and put it away reay for when we move....LOL...not sure when that will be tho!

    My little charge is now napping after his bottle...bless, so I'm on the laptop checking out pretty blogs!



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