The Best of Corvallis: Our Neighbor’s Cherry Stand
Here in the stone fruit-and-berry rich Pacific Northwest, kids sell cherries freshly picked from their backyard trees in lieu of having a lemonade stand. At least on our street in Corvallis, they do. These are not the crappy, under-ripe and non-organic Hood River ones sold along the highway on the Oregon Coast last week. These are ripe, beautiful, juicy, seemingly chemical-free Bings.
Apparently, and based on the neighbor’s harvest, Oregon is having a bountiful, if delayed, cherry season this summer. Often, the constant spring rains will force many blossoms to drop before pollination. They seemed to fare better this year. Giant organic Ranier cherries especially flourish, when protected and heated up by high tunnels, on an OSU research farm here.
How I will miss these cherries, and the raspberries and blueberries and especially the Tayberries, upon our relocation back East. So I’m savoring them now. A $20 bill got me 10 pints from the neighbor’s stand. Then Dan decided to surprise us with a box on his bike ride home, so we had 11 in total. Several have already disappeared. Theo loves cherries and, fortunately without incident, appears to have swallowed his first cherry stone. Maybe he’ll have a sister, Cherry Stone, someday:)
Now it’s time to make clafouti, or brandied cherries, or the bing cherry-rhubarb brown betty I discovered our first summer here. That was the first year I bought the neighbor’s crop. Apparently, the young boys have doubled their asking price since four years ago. That seems fair.
There’s something hopeful, and of course entrepreneurial, about young boys holding a cherry (or even lemonade) stand. These boys work for their allowance. Their mother also has them play their fiddles for change sometimes at the farmer’s market. So mothers begin to instruct their sons to make a buck the honest way.