We are fortunate in the upstate NY (Binghamton) area to have both some nice local farmers markets (although not as awesome as the ones in Ithaca, NY, an hour from us) and some U-Pick options.
Yesterday, we had called one large U-Pick operations, Apple Hills, and were delighted to find out that not only were the raspberries ready but - they also had U-Pick sweet cherries.
This is the first time, that I know of, that U-Pick sweet cherries are available in the Triple Cities. You can get them here, but normally you have to drive to the Finger Lakes. Sweet cherries (my guess, due to our climate) haven't been reliable enough to justify U-Pick production. The Finger Lakes moderate the climate up around Ithaca, which is why they can grow various things we really can't do well here to their south.
So this morning we called, got the message that both sweet cherries and raspberries were available for picking until noon, and (after some delays for various reasons including needing to do our exercise walk early due to heat) off we went, getting there about 10:30.
The raspberries and sweet cherries were in different directions. Our decision was sweet cherries. I love them.
We got to the sweet cherries parking lot, and it was packed. There was a tractor-driven shuttle waiting and loading. Apparently it wasn't in walking distance.
We walked up to the stand and discovered the cherries were $2.99 a lb. Now we had a snap decision to make.
There are those who will buy local food and support their local farmer at any cost. I am not that person. I want to support my local family farmer, BUT - it also has to be a reasonable buy. Yesterday, at the Binghamton farmers market, freshly picked sweet cherries were being sold by a vendor for $3.25 a pint. Spouse, who has worked in this industry, told me that pint was about 12 oz. In other words, our time would be better spent picking the raspberries, which were being sold U-Pick for $2.99 a lb. (Just try pricing raspberries in the supermarket. If you don't faint.) Financially, raspberries were a much better choice. We could both support a local family farm and, financially, come out ahead.
We picked a little over 3 lb before we felt we had run out of good berries in our row. There were a lot of people out there, including a lot of families. It was a good outing for a sunny Saturday. And, they really tasted good. Our rains are temporarily on hold, and there wasn't much mold visible. (a risk, with raspberries.)
(If you are wondering - these are thornless raspberries. And, I pick with a sunhat on and herbal insect repellent). I wish there were U-Pick blackberries, but I guess they haven't come up with thornless blackberries that will grow here in our zone 5 climate).
So what will we do next? We'll eat some fresh, and a lot of it will be made into raspberry vinegar (I'll post a recipe if my readers request.) by my handy spouse.
Meanwhile, when we went to the supermarket - the sweet cherries were $4.99 a lb. Sigh.