The cherry season in the Creston Valley got off to a fun-filled start on July 24.
That’s the day that the brand-new owners of Cherrybrook fruit stand in Erickson hosted an afternoon cherry festival, celebrating the start of the local harvest.
“We had a couple of local artisans here, samples of locally-produced foods — pickles from the Pickle Patch and Ebesse Zozo hot sauce from Nelson — and cherry lemonade and cherry smoothies,” said co-owner Caroline Martin.
And, of course, fresh-off-the-tree cherries from the orchard behind the fruit stand.
Cherry-themed games and contests provided entertainment for visitors, including a pit-spitting contest (longest spit about 12.5 feet) and cherry-packing contests (top speed of 40 seconds). There was also information available about the cherry industry in general, and the Cherrybrook orchard in particular.
“It came together really quickly,” says Martin. “I’ve had people asking why we didn’t give more notice — but we only thought of it the Wednesday before. And we couldn’t put it off for a week, because by then we’d be in the middle of our heaviest cherry harvest.”
The cherry festival is one way in which Cherrybrook Farms hopes to get people excited about eating local foods, and informed about where their food comes from and how it’s produced. That is a major goal of the new fruit stand, where the Martins are working to create a market that specialises in locally- and regionally-produced foods.
“That, and it’s fun,” laughed Martin.
The Martins have lots of plans for future events, too. Once the on-site commercial kitchen is approved, which should happen within the week, there will be regular demonstrations where people can watch local products, such as jams, baked goods, and candies, being made. They’re working on a peach party in August, other events revolving around the apple and pumpkin harvests in the fall, and something for the Christmas season. They are even beginning to think about a 100-mile dinner, to be held on the spacious deck at the rear of the fruit stand.
For more information about the fruit stand, kitchen or the Martin’s cherry-tree memberships, phone 250-428-3070. Or, better yet, drop by the fruit stand and check things out for yourself.
— TAMMY HARDWICK