All of a sudden, it seems, the stone fruit is in the market. We have peaches, plums, apricots–and big, sloping piles of bright red cherries. The cherry season is short, and very sweet. And while we have a cherry pitter, and sometimes use it (ice cream, tarts, once in a red wine reduction for lamb), the cherries rarely last long enough to make it into something as complicated as a recipe.
I’m all about simple, these days, and letting my children experience food in its whole, pure state, so when the cherries come home on Sunday I pour them into a big glass bowl and set them in the middle of our home’s Command Central (aka the Kitchen Table) with a small bowl of water for rinsing and a smaller bowl for pits. We have an open floor plan, so all day long the kids & their friends & Kory and I pick, dip, & eat. On Memorial Day they were ravaged before, during, and after dinner as the kids carried the three bowls back and forth from appetizer to dinner to dessert table.
They’re a snack, of course, but because we eat only what’s in season at our local market things like cherries feel like a rare treat. This is one of the great things about eating locally and seasonally. On the one hand, things taste the way they should–& impeccably fresh–but it’s also exciting every time something new shows up. And yes, they are expensive. At $5-7/lb they cost us. But I think it’s worth it to have such an excellent snack to binge on for a few days, and in the long run, that $7 is teaching the kids about many, many things besides how great cherries taste. And it’s keeping them healthy. With seasonal eating, we appreciate each crop all the more, we look forward to each new harvest, and we really do celebrate every mouthful. Even Ella and Finn know that they’re getting something special.
The cherries, on the other hand, are lucky if they see Tuesday morning.