I have a special skill.
I can spot a fruit tree from impossible distances. Driving down the road in Spring, Summer, and Fall I will let out a little squeal, hit the breaks, turn the car around, and investigate. Yes, I have knocked on more than a few doors to ask “mind if I pick your apricots?”.
There was the abandoned organic pear orchard outside of Hood River, the grapes outlying a park in Salt Lake City, a cherry tree discovered while hiking in Chile, mulberries around every corner in Cville, and the wild blueberries while hiking last year, among the pounds of other foraged fruit to pass my lips.
Fruit picking, especially berries, is a very calm and meditative experience for me.
The task is so simple and straight-forward; one for the belly, one for the bowl.
Bark underfoot, up in the trees, life is sweet.
Our main mission was cherries but we found a few peaches on the brink of ripe and little, golden gooseberries.
Gooseberries are new to me. I’m not wild for them but the astringency and tartness worked well in a salad.
As the sun started to burn bright, we retreated home to process the fruits of our labor.
My goal was to not pit a single cherry.
So I made cherry-vanilla infused vodka.
And cherry juice.
And cherry syrup.
And reduced cherry balsamic vinegar.
My hands-and kitchen-were stained a deep, dark red by the end of the day and I thought, “this is summer”.