Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Foraging for Cherries

Here at Red Bucket Farm we have three cherry trees in our orchard in the side yard. The trees are different varieties of sour pie cherries---North Star, Montmorency and Meteor---although I have no idea which tree is which variety. (Note to self: write it down!) In the photo above, the scrawny tree in the foreground is the tree which provides the most fruit, while the largest tree at the end of the line provides rather little fruit. These cherry trees were planted from bare root stock about four years ago.

As an urban farmer in a residential neighborhood, it's easy to see what my neighbors are growing. For several years, I've noticed a beautiful cherry tree at a home several blocks from my house. Every spring, I notice that tree bloom and produce fruit. I also watch the fruit slowly overripen and fall to the ground. Last year I nearly knocked on their door to ask if I could harvest the fruit, but I never quite mustered the courage or time to do it.

Last week I sorta-kinda got my chance. We were walking the dog at dusk past the house with the cherry tree. In the diminishing light I noticed that the cherry tree had been heavily pruned. The branches, laden with fruit, were laying in a pile at the curb. We quickly walked the dog home and returned with the car, squeezing the awkward branches into the trunk of our old economy sedan.

When we got the branches home, we realized that most of the fruit was not quite ready to harvest. We propped up the branches in a five gallon bucket of water and hoped that the fruit would finish maturing in a few days. So far, this seems to be working. At least half of the fruit is turning pink and red. The other half is shriveling, but we'll salvage what we can.

Meanwhile, another seemingly neglected cherry tree has caught my attention. I wonder if I'll be knocking on any doors?

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