Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy? and other Americana for the 4th

First of all, the answer to the question posed:


This may not look like the cherry pies you’re used to. The pie cherries didn’t look like what I’m used to.

Some years ago, long before I had anything serious to do with this place, Ben had an Ag-science grad student living in his pig sty (not as bad as it sounds, it had been converted to a guest residence by the time I saw it) and charged her with selecting some fruit trees for what is now our orchard.

I don’t know how much you know about cherries, but they thrive best is there are a couple of different varieties planted to cross-pollinate. Debra planted a pie cherry next to a Royal Anne (really next to it, for years I thought it was one tree). I used to nag Ben about not watering one side of the tree enough. Then I tasted the cherries and discovered we had pie cherries. Whoopee!

I don’t know what variety they are. When ripe, they are a dark reddish black like Bings. But they have an intense cherry flavor. I’ve never seen them before. But tonight we’ll be really taste-testing them for the first time. Ben’s “pigeon abatement program” succeeded wildly, and he said if he didn’t get at least one cherry pie (weird in itself–he doesn’t even like sweet stuff although he maintains he will eat anything I grow and so far he’s been true to that), he’d be really disgusted.

Here’s what our crop looks like this year. Pie cherries:


Royal Annes: I was going to show you these as well, but Adobe is not cooperating and I’m out of patience.

Here’s the current state of the blueberry crop:


There’s nothing for scale here, but most of these berries are about the size of a nickel.

And here are the raspberries:


Again, nothing for scale, but the last two days I’ve picked a quart or so each day in my miniscule patch, and there are that many more out there now. I’m giving them away as fast as I can. I baked a raspberry-custard tart and took it to my writing group yesterday. It disappeared in an instant.

I probably wouldn’t be writing this now, except for the fact that I’ve been uncharacteristically silent. As a result, some people that I really care a lot about have written to see if I’m all right. And of course I am, I’m just totally overwhelmed by the garden and the produce and so on. It’s summer on the Big Elk.

My largest and most enthusiastic cabbage heads are spitting, so I’ve got to go make sauerkraut. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the sauerkraut will actually be ready in September for Oktoberfest, a first.

9 Responses to “Can she bake a cherry pie, Billy Boy? and other Americana for the 4th”

  1. amuirin Says:

    It all looks marvelous. Sweet tooth or no, Ben should be pretty happy.

  2. Moonjelly Says:

    The pie was very lovely, both in looks and taste, perhaps the best I’ve ever made, which I’m sure is what inspired Ralph to go out yesterday morning and pick amazing amounts of pie cherries that of course needed processing. . .

  3. jennylitchfield Says:

    I have never cooked or eaten cherry pie – the cherries we get are expensive and are sold at christmas time in the local supermarket. I can only imagine the flavour. Sounds scrumptious. May be one day we’ll get to visit America and sample your pie cherries.

  4. Moonjelly Says:

    Jenny, the local ones are ripe in June. Let me know when to expect you, and I’ll bake the pie myself. I also, of course, have a few quarts canned for out of season occasions. . . ;^}

  5. jackiesgarden Says:

    I’ll bet you’re “just totally overwhelmed by the garden” — I can’t even imagine trying to keep up with that much produce! But I sure can imagine being able to have those goodies in the wintertime…..ummmmmm.

  6. Marianne Says:

    It gets more beautiful, and more frightening, every day. I have some help, for which I’m very grateful.

  7. Heath Says:

    very impressive. i love to bake pies as well, though none of them turn out as perfect looking as yours……i’m a fan of the lattice, but it’s easier said than done 🙂

  8. Marianne Says:

    Heath, lattice is easy if you can cut a straight line with a very sharp knife and get things approximately the same width. The rest is just 5th grade crafts 101. Remember those placemats? Good to hear from you.

  9. Philip Ferris Says:

    Hi Marianne

    I can see I have been away far too long.

    I have been having issues with how I get through all the items I want to read and how to categorise them. I have been using a great free windows programme called Snarfer but not helping by dumping all feeds into one or two folders.

    I took a step back from it all to work this out and then had my Open University course push me 10 more paces back (far enough to lose touch with most of the places i frequent).

    How do I manage to bring everything I write these days around to my favourite topic of ME? [It’s a skill I guess].

    To go with your shot of rapsberries here’s one of loganberries

    Needless to say, I LOVE cherry pie.

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