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Cherries in the Mountains
When I married my second husband, we bought a house in Wrightwood. I had always wanted to live in the mountains and I loved that house. It was a chalet style, very well-built, homey, lots of decks, pine trees, up against the forest, a cute little front yard and lots of fruit trees. I had never had so many fruit trees anywhere I had ever lived before. There were three apple trees (red delicious - and they were soooo good), a pear tree, a peach tree and a large English Morello cherry tree. Morello cherries are sour. They’re perfect for baking! I hadn’t really baked cherry pies before I moved there. I learned that it was best to pick the cherries just as they were starting to sweeten. That also happened to be the same point when the birds started devouring them. After a couple of years of losing many of the cherries to the birds, I got into the routine of tasting them everyday around middle to late June. When I decided they were ready, I called my mom and she drove up. We’d spend the day picking and pitting cherries. I let the birds have the cherries from the top third of the tree and we got the rest. That was a LOT of cherries! One year, I entered a cherry pie in a pie baking contest at a small fair in town. I won first place!
When I moved back to Yucaipa, I found that there is nowhere to buy sour cherries locally - not even Cherry Valley. This was such a disappointment because I really prefer to use fresh fruit. So I started looking for alternatives. One of my customers mentioned that she could get jars of good sour cherries at an international market in Orange County, where she lives. She comes out this way pretty regularly, so she buys them for me. They’re wonderful! Then I found that I can also buy smaller jars of them at World Market locally. I’m so glad I’m able to make pie this year with these deep red sour cherries from a jar. But I sure do miss that beautiful English Morello cherry tree in the mountains.