Saturday, July 11, 2015

Cherry Picking In The Niagara Region

The Great Outdoors

A Lone Cherry among the branches.

We went cherry picking on Thursday morning, driving 125 kilometres (75 miles) southward around the horseshoe of Lake Ontario to the Niagara Region of Ontario. We were hoping for good and pleasant weather, but it was not to be. After we left the urban confines of Toronto, the weather became rainy and foggy, and remained so even after we arrived at our destination, Cherry Avenue Farms, in Lincoln. The temperature was 17°C (63°F), a good eight to ten degrees Celsius (14 to 18 degrees Fahrenheit) below what one would expect for this time of year.

Undeterred, we decided to wait to see if the weather would improve, so we asked a young lady at the farm for directions to a burger place, for lunch (Josh’s suggestion). We were directed to a place in Grimsby, a charming town 15 minutes northwest, to Union Burger. It was good in all respects, including the Tuscan salad that I ate.

After lunch, the temperature warmed up a degree or two, and the weather cleared sufficiently—only a mild drizzle—that we decided to head back to the cherry orchards and take our chances. We picked, we wandered and we picked some more, going up and down ladders. It was much harder work picking the cherries in the damp weather; everything was wet: the cherries, the leaves and the grounds surrounding the trees, but a family effort allowed us to pick almost 2.5 kilograms, or 6 pounds, at a modest cost of $2.25 a pound.

To those who are unaware, there is more to the region—the Niagara Fruit Belt—than its famous falls; it is among Canada’s most productive and richest fruit-growing regions (incl. apricots, peaches, plums and, of course, cherries); and there are also the many wineries in the area, which offer tours and wine tasting. This might surprise people who view Canada as only a region of ice and snow.

Cherry Picking Attire: Dressing properly is half the battle.

The First Bite: It is the sweetest.

Cherry Selections: It was a family affair.

6 Lbs of hand-picked cherries. We have enjoyed eating them raw, but with so much cherries, there are so many possible uses: from home-made cherry pie to cherry brandy to cherry liqueur. My mother had told me that her father used to make home-made cherry liqueur, but she was never given the recipe. Therefore, I will have to do some online research to find one that is to my liking, or if anyone has a good family recipe, do let me know.
All Photos: ©Perry J. Greenbaum, 2015