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Monday, January 3, 2011

The Cherries of Summer Make the Pies of Winter (Blog Fourteen)

Last night, Elaine and I dined with friends Paul and Ellen Hinlicky of Roanoke, County, Virginia.  Our

contribution to the meal was a cherry pie, which came from an organically grown tree in our back yard. The

tree, a North Star, produced seven gallons of sour cherries the last ten days or so of May and the first few

days of June last spring.
Every evening every year during that time frame, Elaine and I spend about 45 minutes picking berries (Elaine holds the ladder while I reach for the fruit) and another 20 minutes or so pitting the cherries (a most distasteful job punctuated by red juice squirts covering much of our upper anatomy).  It’s hot, messy work and it occurs during a time when the mosquitoes like to make the outdoors part of the task a little more difficult.
Ah, but the rewards are worth the effort, time, and discomfort.  Elaine is a superlative cook, and freshly baked cherry pie or cobbler from berries that only a few hours earlier had been growing outside is a taste delight.  Elaine also made cherry preserves last summer, a marvelous concoction to spread on any kind of bread.

But the major rewards from our summer labors come during the winter.  We parcel out the berries so that we have several pies and/or cobblers every month during the fall and winter.  As good as a freshly made May/June pie is, somehow Elaine’s desserts taste even better when the temperature is cold and snow blankets the ground.  A testament to that is that after dinner at the Hinlicky’s house, only one slice of pie made it back home with my spouse and me, and Elaine was kind enough to say I could have it for dinner tonight.  I am ashamed to write (actually I’m not all that ashamed) that I enthusiastically consumed the entire, rather large piece.


  1. I miss the pie!

    Also, let's be honest...who really pits all the cherries?

  2. I guess that is where the saying comes from, "Ah, that's the pits."