On Wednesday, my mom and I and my 17-year-old stepson went up north to the Flathead Lake to do some cherry picking at a u-pick orchard. Although the place I went with some friends last summer wasn’t open yet, we found another great spot – it even operated on the honor system and just left out a scale, some buckets, and instructions on where to leave your money when you were finished picking and weighing up. Oh how I love this great state of ours!
Even though I never buy cherries in the store and don’t much care for eating them, I really enjoy picking and prepping them. I find the whole process to have a high degree of mindfulness built right in naturally. And there are many activities like this, that innately involve a certain quality of mindfulness that you don’t have to work at developing, it simply exists with little effort – like fishing, cooking, playing an instrument, knitting, wood working, painting, photography, and so on. I find that picking cherries and then setting to work pitting them holds my attention and focus quite readily.
Flathead Lake Cherry Orchard, Montana
On Tuesday I took a drive up north with my mom, stepson, and friend to the Flathead Lake area in order to do some cherry picking. We were gifted with an invitation from a friend of mine, a local orchard worker, to come up and pick as many cherries as we wanted. Around here many folks wait for the Flathead Cherry season to come into full swing. They are a local delicacy, and for good reason!
Similar to gardening cherry picking is a naturally mindful activity. It’s hard to pick cherries and not be fully present with the process. The four of us spent 2 hours picking and collected around 100 pounds of cherries! We had to pull ourselves away from the trees – it was just so easy and enjoyable picking away. The trees were chock full!
OK – so now we had 100 pounds of cherries right? Now what? Well, I got to work washing, de-stemming, and pitting cherries :)
After some great help from a couple of friends we have about 10 gallon sized ziplock bags full of pitted cherries in the freezer. There are a few bags we didn’t pit and the rest have either being given to friends, are in the dehydrator, have been juiced, frozen into popsicles, or turned into the delicious pies that my mom and I made last night using a crust recipe from my great grandmother. I think I’ve had more cherries in the past two days then I’ve had in my entire life! I’ve drank cherry juice, eaten fresh cherries, had cherry pie, and last night I had a cherry popsicle from fresh cherry juice. There are cherries all over the house :)