Today's moment of summer

sour cherries on tree samascot 2013-July

Well, a recent moment of summer. We went to Samascott in Kinderhook at the end of last week to pick cherries, blueberries, and strawberries.

Cherry season had just started and the trees were loaded with fruit. The sour cherries were almost a glowing red, which made the whole scene look a bit surreal.

About sour cherries... We came across a NYT article from a few years back about orchards in the Hudson Valley that grow sour cherries, many of them in Columbia County. In that article, the owner of Samascott mentioned that the sour cherries are popular with people from eastern Europe. And though it's just one instance, our experience last week followed with that: We were one of the few people speaking English along the rows of cherry trees.

Anyway, we had heard that sour cherries make good pies. We can now happily confirm that.

Elsewhere: NPR recently had an interesting story about a Michigan State scientist who is "the country's one and only tart cherry breeder."


A good example of the diverse array of agricultural products that have been abandoned by modern ag. An entire wing of cherries, forgotten and neglected! Yet we clearly like the taste of sour cherries - after all, that's what that goopy canned stuff is made from. Too bad Co-opertive Extensions have lost their way.

There are tons of great and unusual fruits that can be grown right here in the Capital Region - like paw paws, kiwis, currants, and gooseberries - that nobody knows about.

Reminds me that once I lived in a place with a great sour cherry tree in the back yard. We battled the birds for the best ones, but they did make fine pies!

Stop by the Delaware Community Farmers' Market today, Tuesday, for a cherry pit spitting contest in celebration of the sweet and short lived cherry season. Market 4 to 7 pm, behind branch library, 331 Delaware Ave, Albany. Spitacular contest at 5:30 pm.

We love Samascott Orchards, the kids and I pick there several times a year as the fruits ripen. Not only do we can our own jams but if you freeze your berries on cookie trays and then roll them into a freezer bag you'll have individually frozen fruit that's easy to measure for recipes or for smoothies. Fruit slices can be done the same way but you may want a sheet of wax paper on the tray. Makes for a great family day.

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