A branch laden with Rainier cherries
When Charles proposed a cherry-picking excursion to Leona Valley, I jumped at the chance to get out of town for a morning and end up with a few buckets of cherries to show for it. And when his friend Kirstin offered to drive her Prius, it really sealed the deal. Charles had been before, so he knew which orchards were pesticide free and where there might be sour cherries -- although that one was closed for another week or two. Check out the website for Leona Valley Cherry Pickers for a list of orchards. After about an hour's drive up the 14 freeway, we came to plenty of signs for various orchards, all in the $2.75 to $3.00 a pound range. Most of the trees are pretty low, so even little kids can get plenty, although some orchards also have ladders. It doesn't take to long to pick several pounds, but if you take some food for a picnic you can make a nice day of it. The orchards have restrooms and sell cherry pitter gadgets, hot dogs, honey, snow cones and such. After a marathon pitting session, we tucked into some lovely cherry cobbler for dessert. Tomorrow: cherry ice cream.