At last, the rain stopped and the sun came out. The humidity stayed away and we really enjoyed being in the country. As if insatiable with summer and what it has to offer, I hightailed to the farm on Saturday morning to pick tart cherries. The season has just started but if I know anything, it is that you got to show up early or not at all. I took my dad on a father/daughter excursion for help and also as an early Father’s Day treat to myself. I don’t remember the last time we spent time just the two of us and I couldn’t think of a better time to restart the counter.
You see, my father has many wonderful traits, but one of them, he comes by naturally: he’s fairly tall. We weren’t as serious about picking as some of the others braving the 9 am farm crush. I could see a slight disappointment in my father’s eyes as he eyed the competition armed with ladders, but we found a few trees that were yielding Jubilee Cherries which are a slightly sweeter, larger tart cherry. You had to go a lot deeper into the grove to seek out this variety but we, and, unsurprisingly a whole group of Russians found them at the same time. The cherries were scrumptious, so juicy and tender that we found it difficult to leave the grove but finally decided it was time to head out when the scales tipped past the ten pound mark. I feared what Evan and my mom would say about the sheer magnitude of our harvest as it had to be used rather quickly.
I knew that we could always be generous and share them with my sister whose absolute favorite food is tart cherry vareniki. Sharing would still leave me with quite a bit and sure, we can turn into jam, preserves, conserves or something of the likes. You can even make fruit punch with them. But I wanted them in a baked dish and hand pies or pierogies seemed like a lot of bother. After some searching, I decided that we had to go big and so made a large, sour cherry slab pie. Mmm, so good. My dad and I picked the cherries, my mom pitted the cherries, I made the heavenly pie crust and assembled with the help of my dad. Unsurprisingly, for a sweet tooth anyway, he never turns down an invitation to help in the kitchen when someone is cooking something sweet.
It was heavenly — tart and sweet, meaty and flaky and just everything that you think summer and summer desserts should be. Thankfully, I froze a batch of cherries for one more pie just like this and I am sure they won’t stay in my freezer too much longer. There aren’t too many other culinary stories to share with you with this weekend because in addition to visiting with us and playing with Sophia, my parents brought us dinner and lunch for the next few days. For once, we’re grateful for the break and are enjoying some of our favorites like cold borscht.
Speaking of playing, and play they did. In the sandbox and in the garden, outside in the front yard and in the back yard. Sophia planted new seeds and watered them too. Happiness is seeing your child involved in take care of her demesne and sharing that with your family.