Cherry Picking at Maggiore Cherry Ranch
As a kid, Memorial Day weekend not only meant that summer was fast approaching, but it also signaled the start of cherry picking season in California. On summer weekends, we’d load the family up (aunties, cousins, uncles and all) and head out to the orchards to get our fill of cherries.
This year I decided to introduce my own kids to the cherry picking fun. We headed to Brentwood, California – about 45 minutes from where we live in Fairfield, California. For this trip, we chose Maggiore Cherry Ranch. There are more popular ones like 5 Star Cherries but the lines were longer. Maggiore Cherry Ranch is further apart from the larger, more crowded ranches. We had easy parking, no crowds and plenty of cherries to pick from.
When I say plenty of cherries – I mean, plenty of cherries. We went on Sunday on Memorial Day weekend so the trees were ripe for the picking. Cherries were stacked upon each other like barnacles on a ship. I never knew that cherry trees could produce that many cherries on one branch and they were huge!
After instructing Malia how to pick the best cherries – “Look for the big ones that are really dark” – she inched her way between the branches and started dropping her cherries into the bucket. Maxim was content sitting on his daddy’s shoulders in the 100 degree, summer weather. The rest of the adults picked and ate as we made it through the trees. Ha! Note: Don’t eat too many. Cherries are high in fiber. My Uncle learned that the hard way. (wink wink — one of my memories of cherry picking from childhood. lol)
Cherries at Maggiore Ranch were $3.50 a pound, cash or check only. Plenty of ladders are available for use around the orchard. Buckets are available for each family. Be sure to bring plenty of cold water and beverages as the weather is very dry and very, very hot. After cherry picking, the kids enjoyed ice cream from the ice cream truck in the parking lot.
As for our pickings, we walked away with about 8 pounds of cherries that we split between 3 families. I like to eat them fresh as an evening or between meals snack. My dad likes to freeze them and add them to his morning shakes.
Do you have a favorite cherry recipe? I’d love to try it out. Post a link or comment to share. Or share your favorite summer childhood memory.