Sunday a week ago I went cherry picking for the first time (or any fruit picking for that matter). Kelly actually makes her own jam and pie filling. She had gone strawberry picking a week or so earlier. With the strawberries she made some tasty syrup for pancakes or ice cream, the syrup was created when the mixture didn't solidify into jam. Her second and third batches ended up as even better jam. Totally natural and home made.
Back to the cherry picking, we went out on Sunday afternoon. Two of her friends went to help us pick. There are several farms in north western Maryland that you can go pick your own fruit at. We went to Larriland Farm to do the picking. The tart cherries (used for pies) had just ripened. When you get there they give you bags to put your cherries in. There was a long line of trees to pick from. We walked down a ways to get ones that weren't as picked over yet. Luckily the fruit was almost perfectly ripe. We picked about 8 bags which worked out to about 24 lbs of cherries. It took us about 90 minutes to pick them.
Before we left Kelly's friends wanted to pick some more strawberries. Kelly had broken out the first time so she watched. Since I had never done it I wanted to try it. We only picked a few pounds total. I may have had a similar breakout problem as it looks like my lower legs were swarmed by bugs.
Once we got back to Kelly's place the second half of the task began. Before freezing for later use the cherries needed to be pitted. When using the proper tool it wasn't that hard to pit the cherries. First someone cleaned and removed the stems. Then using a tool like this the pit is pushed out the base of the cherry. Kelly got 6 or 7 gallon freezer bags of cherries for later pie making.
Last year Kelly entered the Maryland State Fair with her pie, she is debating doing it again. Last year she did tremendous research with lots of participants and data to determine the ideal pie. This year she could just make it. Unfortunately cherry is not my favorite flavor of pie, but I am told hers is very good.