My husband is planning his art show season and some of the better prospects are front loaded in early summer. If he's accepted to display/sell his poetic angel images at these coveted shows, we'll be far from home for six weekends in a row -- just as our favorite fruits are ripening.
Since we built a tiered strawberry bed in the front yard, we've been able to forego picking our own at a nearby farm. It eases the process somewhat because we can pick and freeze 2-3 quarts at a time -- as opposed to the 40 or more we would cart home years ago. Hulling, slicing and macerating that volume of strawberries filled the larger part of an afternoon and evening.
Now, I skip outside at dawn or after work, pick what's juicy and ripe, prep and store them in less than an hour at a time. So much more convenient!
But when we're away for a few days at the height of harvest, it reverts to being a chore -- and we tend to lose more than I'd prefer to mold and slugs.
The timing on cherries is even more crucial -- at least here, in Upstate New York -- our window for picking un-split, ambrosia spheres is less than a week. July 1, the u-pick farms generally open for business, and by July 6, there's little to be found within reach -- even with a ladder.
Last year, I took a long lunch break and we drove to a nearby farm to pick in a drizzling rain, rather than risk losing out. We then spent the entire evening pitting, freezing and canning cherries -- until midnight.
So, unless our own black gold tree, which produced just two cherries last year, can meet our nearly insatiable demand, we will be hard-pressed to pick and process enough fruit to ease next year's winter blues and stave off colds/flu.
In the meantime, I guess I'll just grab a bowl of frozen cherries to enjoy while helping Kevin fill out his applications.