Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Cherries

This special feeling towards fruit, its glory and abundance, is I would say universal...  We respond to cherry orchards and strawberry fields with a delight that a cabbage patch or even an elegant vegetable garden cannot provoke.  ~ Jane Grigson
One of the things I love about where we live is that it is merely a hop, skip and a jump to the Adelaide Hills. In less than 30 minutes we arrived at the cherry farm we intended to visit.  We were not disappointed as we stocked up on cherries to enjoy in this time of festive preparation (and of course with Pa who was visiting from Brisbane).  South Australia is certainly the place for fresh fruit and the Hills show an abundance of cherries and strawberries, apricots and plums this season and apples and pears etc. during winter.

We were very happy, as for the price of 1kg in the markets we carried 3.5 kgs home to be devoured.  Those working in the shed and picking in the orchard were not so happy however as the cherries were not in very good form.  The day before we had had very heavy and consistent rains.  The only real rains we have seen this year - the December rainfall this year is already over the average (and that was the only time of rain - we have returned to sunshine!). This is wonderful for many but for others it has seen the destruction of their crops which have been wiped out by the rain.

We bought both seconds and first grade cherries.  The seconds cherries had split skins as you can clearly see above but the fruit is still so juicy and sweet and succulent.  They just don't look so marvellous.  Last year's seconds were in much better form than this year.  It is such a shame as the farmers won't get the price they need for this fruit.

Still much of the fruit, even in the bag of seconds, is really quite nice in appearance and certainly edible.  Nothing was thrown out!  These fingers of my Generous Gentleman often visited his lips during the great cherry sort which followed our trip to the orchard.

Cherries speak Christmas to most of us here in Australia as the season is so short.  I don't remember a Christmas table that didn't contain a beautiful glass bowl full of cherries.  Ours will this year also.  It may also contain some Mini Black Forest Gateau if I find the time to bake these also...

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