Apparently the thing to do in Southern California on Memorial Weekend is go cherry picking. Cherries have a very short season, only about a month! Through the connectivity of Facebook, I found out about a U-Pick Cherry Farm an hour and a half north of us. We decided it’d be a fun thing to do on our 6th wedding anniversary.
There were notifications on the farm’s website about a smaller crop yield this season and that their Memorial Day weekend hours would be shortened. We made an effort to leave first thing in the morning. That “first thing in the morning” didn’t quite happen and we arrived at the farm at 11am. (Their hours for the day were to be closed at 1pm, so still plenty of time.) The traffic halted about a mile and a half from the gate and people were parking on the side of the road. We found a spot to park a mile away and started to unload. We noticed however a ton of people returning to their vehicles empty handed. Stuart asked someone and she said the farm was closed but that there were other orchards further down the road.
Down the road we went. We joined another mass of people and waited in line for almost an hour to get into this smaller orchard. They grow 6 varieties of cherries but two of them had already seen the end of their season. Predominately Bing and Rainier were the varieties ripe and ready to pick, though we did snag a small handful of Brooks and Utah Giants. Don’t ask me which are those latter two out of our three pound bag though!
Unlike our first choice orchard, this one didn’t have a picnic area. We instead ate our packed lunch in the back of the van when we returned from our harvesting adventure.
Next year we will be more prepared and arrive when they open so we can check out the largest cherry orchard in Southern California. While still satisfied with our yield, the day ended up not being the one I’d envisioned. Fruit picking in California is quite different than in Ohio; way more people and a little more stress. But, now we know. Time to look for other fruit picking opportunities!
I will do my best to share my cherry creations while cherry season is still on. First up: scones.
When I told my mom we were making scones she immediately had to whip up her Blueberry Scones. I watched her make the dough via FaceTime and realized that her recipe looked a lot like the one I’d just made for the cherries. The only variations: whole wheat flour in place of all-purpose and heavy cream in place of milk, oh, and obviously cherries instead of blueberries.
Cherry Whole Wheat Scones
- 2 1/2 C whole wheat flour
- 1/4 C sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 stick cold butter, cubed
- 2/3 – 3/4 C heavy cream
- 1 C chopped fresh cherries
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut in the cubes of butter until it looks like crumbs.
- Add the cream and mix with a fork until combined. Fold in cherries.
- Form (“mush” is the term my mom used) dough into a disk and place on a baking sheet. Cut into 6-8 wedges. Spread wedges apart slightly if you want crispy edges or leave touching for soft edges.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown on the edge/top. Scones will be done when toothpick inserted comes out cleanly.
*This recipe is adapted from Amy at http://www.wholesomelicious.com/cherry-pie-scones/*