Friday, July 15, 2016

84: Sweets or sours?

Bordman Lake Trail
Our last leg into Traverse City was on the bike trail along Bordman Lake.  Appropriately, much of it is a "board" trail. Very pretty, and an interesting perspective on a city that I have visited for a dozen years. I never knew this was here!

We are staying in town with Roger's cousin Jacque and her husband, Ed. One of the things that we do on a "day off" is attend to things like hair cuts and repairs. So I did some mending using Jacque's sewing machine, and Roger got a haircut using Ed's trimmers. Jacque even gave me a trim!

Traverse City is the "Cherry Capital" of the United States. Lots of people grow cherries here, including one of Roger's cousins. Jacque and Ed took us out to Bev and Mike's orchard, where they grow cherries and apples.  Mike's family has been farming here for three generations. They have been harvesting the sweet cherries for the past several days, and invited us to come out and pick some of the remainder for ourselves. Oh my! This blew my mind!

Sweet black cherries
I have never harvested anything that was so easy to pick. The trees were laden with cherries (on the lower branches) that the harvesting machine does not get. We filled an ice chest in no time.
Cherries on the tree
Mike does not pick the cherries by hand, of course. He uses a "shaker" which has a tarp that surrounds the tree and collects the cherries as the tree is gently shaken.

Sours - up for harvest next
The sweets are done now, and they will begin harvesting the sour cherries in a day or so. Contrary to some orange growers, who spray a stem strengthener on the trees to help them hold their fruit longer (and thus get sweeter), the cherries are sprayed with something that will allow the stems to let go. Therefore, they shake off the tree easily and do not have the stems on them.
Beautiful bark

We have eaten our fill of the delicious cherries, and purchased pounds of the dried tart cherries to ship back home. I'll be finding a way to take a big handful away with me when we head back on the road tomorrow!

Click the video link for a view of the shaker.

Ed, Bev, Jacque and Roger

Our bounty
Jacque in the orchard

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