Local Produce

Sweet Cherries from Phelps Fruit and Berry Farm

The race is on. Can I keep up with the summer fruits and vegetables? I’m having a hard time prioritizing anything and I’m overwhelmed with everything I want to do this summer. Luckily, picking sweet cherries and canning them only took a day. I was worried it was going to turn into a long ordeal. I was bummed when I wasn’t able to can any of the asparagus and I’m not able to get enough peas to make it worth my time. It’s amazing how many peas you can just eat raw. So I’m glad to have something I could preserve.

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I found a great farm down in Payson, Phelps Fruit and Berry Farm, that has a lot of U-Pick options: cherries, apricots, blackberries, raspberries, peaches, apples, walnuts, etc. Right now the sweet cherries are just ripening. The weather has been cold and rainy, which is bad because the fruit doesn’t ripen and the birds get to eat till their bellies explode. Ryan and I went to go pick on Monday before this crazy weather. I didn’t want a small hail storm to ruin and destroy my chances of picking sweet cherries. Besides, slightly tart cherries are preferable anyway for jams.

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We ended up picking 2 gallon containers of the sweet red (bing but not bing) cherries and 2 gallon containers of Rainier cherries. It came out to about 16 lbs. of cherries. Here’s the kicker…they were only $0.75 per pound. I’m so angry that the “inexpensive” farmer’s market cherries in California were $3.50 a pound. Cherries in the grocery store now are $5.00 per pound or more! I still cannot believe the price. It’s incredible. For about $13.00 we were able to make 10 pint jars of cherry jam, 4 pint jars of maraschino cherries, freeze 2 pounds, and eat a large bowl with a scoop of ice cream (aka lazy man’s cherry cobbler).

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Next time you find yourself staring at an expensive bag of cherries in the grocery store ask yourself, is there a cherry farm nearby? Or better yet, plant a cherry tree in your own backyard if you can. I’ve already scouted out a few Rainier cherry trees in the public parks around Orem. I may have to go fleece those trees of their delicious fruit! Happy cherry picking.

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