Nature always surprises us. This year we
expected hoped to get a good crop from the orchard and berry patch, but did not expect much until June and beyond. But as we had our first warm snap, the raspberries and cherries (at least some of them) decided that now is the time- and we have fruit! Awesome. Just awesome. I won’t lie, we both started giggling like bad movie villains as we tasted the cherries, they were such a surprise we felt like we were getting away with something. And since we beat the birds to the cherries, I think we did!
The early cherries we have are Vans, a bright red, “sweet” cherry. The taste is sweet, but with a little tartness for balance. The flesh is dense and with a bit of pleasant crunch. Good stuff and perfect for simply eating out of hand (or in a Cherry Fling Cocktail). The Van is a great cherry to have in the orchard as it will pollinate with any cherry variety and is itself a good pollinator of other cherries. (If you really want to get into it, the Rainer cherry is a mix between the Bing and Van cherries, not sure what you can do with that, but there you go…). The tree in the photo is a hybrid tree with Van and Black Tartarian cherries grafted to the same trunk. It is somewhat odd to see one branch with ripe cherries and one with very green cherries, but this just means our cherry season lasts longer. We can live with that. Meanwhile our Bing cherry tree is covered with green fruit that is just starting to ripen, we can’t wait.
As for the berries, our golden raspberries also came in early. We always get a good, sustained yield from the bushes, but did not expect them so soon. The golden raspberries are simply an albino variety of red raspberries. Neither of us can remember why we went with golden raspberries, but they are sweet and tasty, just like a red raspberry. And they certainly are pretty with their gold and rose colors. These berries rarely make it out of the orchard or garden. We simply pull a few and eat them as we work, a nice treat through the summer.
Our final surprise of the day was that our red raspberries also look like they are coming in. We just planted these from bare root-stock, and traditionally we would not expect fruit the first year. But it looks like the raspberries have other ideas, and we are not about to argue! Regardless of what we get this year, it looks like these plants are settling in and we will have more berries in the future. Always a good thing.
One pattern that is not a surprise is how much more willing the kids are to hang out in the garden and orchard when there is ripe fruit. Fruit is designed to attract us, and it certainly seems to work around here.