The Cherry Orchard

Cherries in Yolande's garden

Sweet and succulent cherries in Yolande’s orchard

“When I sound the fairy call, gather here in silent meeting,
Chin to knee on the orchard wall, cooled with dew and cherries eating.
Merry, merry, take a cherry, mine are sounder, mine are rounder,
Mine are sweeter for the eater, when the dews fall, and you’ll be fairies all.” Emily Dickenson American poet 1830 – 1886

Hard at work in the cherry orchard using a special ladder for reaching the highest branches

At work in the cherry orchard using a special ladder for reaching the highest branches

We picked our first cherries of the season today – the warm weather has arrived!  In between pip spitting and gorging on freshly picked cherries we managed to throw a few into the baskets. Our neighbour Yolande has all the tools for the job:  a traditional wooden fruit picking ladder – wider at the bottom and thinner at the top to allow it to settle against the tree trunk, a long pole with a hook to bring down the highest branches, as well as little baskets and hooks to hang in the tree to leave your hands free for picking all those cherries.

Princess Margot lends a paw

Princess Margot lends a paw

There are hundreds of varieties of cherry. Yolande grows the Burlap cherry it’s huge and fleshy and very sweet. Fruit farmer Leonard Burlat created the stock in 1915 by grafting onto a wild cherry tree in his garden. Now all the local markets are beginning to fill up with the new seasons crop – summer is here at last

The booty!

The booty!

It was a lovely afternoon, neighbours coming together to pool their resources. John Donne said ‘No man is an island’ and the communal sharing of something you cannot do alone was uplifting. While we were working and talking we were asking Yolande what she planned do with all the cherries “Manger” she said between mouthfuls of cherries. I’ve just been looking up some recipes and we’ll make Clafouti which is a sweet baked batter packed full of cherries, cherry jam with eau de vie (strange but we seem to have acquired an eau de vie lake), roast duck with cherries ummmm!