Since this year’s wacky winter has led to low-yield crops, prime cherry picking will last only a few weeks. While local farmers have been spreading the word to their loyal local customers, tourists will be arriving by the carloads this weekend to get a taste of Brentwood’s cherry crop. Don’t miss out.
Cherry picking has become an activity that unites families in celebration of the season – and the juicy goodness hanging from orchard boughs. For Marcel and his family, a day among the cherry trees is a day in paradise.
“Families come from all over Northern California to not just pick cherries, but enjoy a nice picnic, laughs and good times together,” Marcel said. “And as times became more difficult, and things haven’t recovered as quickly as we all hoped they would, that little piece of fruit has come to mean so much more than just good, healthy nutrition. Like a great meal or great movie, those sweet little cherries bring us together and allow us to forget, even if just for a few hours, all of our troubles. We laugh together, share stories, and build memories that no amount of money can buy or take away.”
For those new to cherry picking, Marcel has three rules to make your experience a memory to treasure: First, be well prepared for a day in the orchard. It takes time to find the best cherries, so wear a hat and slather on plenty of sunscreen. You want to pick a cherry – not look like one.
Second, when driving to your orchard of choice, go slow. U-Pick generates a frenzy of people driving from farm to farm in search of the cream of the crop. This fruit fascination can cause drivers and pedestrians alike to become oblivious to dangerous situations, so keep your eyes open and be aware of those around you.
Finally, respect the orchard. Don’t climb the trees or break the branches. Pick only the ripe cherries – typically a deep red color – with the stem attached. Take only what you plan to purchase. These trees have been disgorging their treasure for years, and their caretakers need you to treat the trees gently so that families can enjoy U-Pick for generations to come.
For more cherry picking tips and suggestions, visit www.facebook.com/brentwoodcherries. For a map of local cherry orchards and other East County farm stands, visit www.harvest4you.com.