Friday, July 06, 2007
Michigan Cherries! Last year we were too late for the tart cherries - we were waiting for our neighbor to tell us it was OK to go pick at his uncle's farm after the tree shakers had gone through. Finally, he said they had finished, and that unfortunately, the trees that they didn't shake didn't have much on them. So we went to buy cherries at a local farmers, and they said that there had been a hailstorm the week before picking that had damaged a lot of the cherries, and they had finished the week before and had a disappointing harvest - sent everything they had to the packers.
Since my husband doesn't want ot miss out on cherry pies this year, he made sure that we called the farmer when we arrived in Michigan. They said the U-pick operation was going Monday and Tuesday this week, and that they were shaking (and sending to the packer) on Thursday, and they would let us "dip" into the tubs on Thursday.
We ended up buying 30 pounds of tart cherries, and spent half the day pitting them. We've decided that next year we will either buy them already pitted, or else we will have a cherry pitter. Here's one from Lehman's Hardware in Kidron, Ohio. Sure beats the tool we were using...
If you know what the original purpose of this tool was, leave a comment! Hint: I found this piece of equipment in my husband's grandmother's sewing machine desk. I knew right where to go to find it, because as a child when I pitted cherries with my grandma and aunties, they used a similar tool. And these devices were kept in the sewing machine desk drawer. To use it, you use a motion very similar to knitting. First you stab the cherry at the top, where the stem grew, then you scoop around to dislodge the pit, then remove the tool and 95% of the time the pit falls right into your bowl.