Los Angeles

Cherry Picking in Leona Valley

Update: June 6, 2007: This gathering has been cancelled due to closure of participating farms.

cherries.jpgCherry picking season is upon us! Charles Rosenberg, a friend of Slow Food Los Angeles, makes an annual excursion to the Leona Valley, near Palmdale, to pick cherries, and you are invited along!
When: Sunday, June 10, 2007 beginning at 10:00am
Where: Bring-your-own brunch at the schoolyard located at 90th and Leona in Palmdale, and continuing on to the orchards (see below)
Cost: Varies, depending on the orchard. See link below for more information.
From Charles:

The member farmers of the Leona Valley Cherry Growers (http://www.cherriesupic.com/) do not use pesticides, cherries are easy to pick, the price is considerably less than at many commercial food markets and the setting is lovely. Leona Valley has a microclimate that allows cherries to grow there, and that means that it is not too hot, even though it is high desert adjacent. It may be very warm, but sometimes breezes make it cool. Prepare with a light jacket. Wear messy clothes in case of cherry stains.

We will meet on Sunday, June 10th at 10 in the morning for a picnic brunch in the schoolyard at the corner of 90th and Leona in Leona Valley. Bring your own brunch and a blanket to sit on. In the event the schoolyard location isn’t available to us we will meet at Windy Ridge cherry orchard.

After brunch you are on your own to choose whichever orchard you like. I usually go to Hobart’s but may check out another depending on price and availability. See the “directions” link for general directions out there and the “orchards” link for a local map. It takes about an hour to get out there. I will have some cherry recipes to hand out. I usually do three things with my cherries: dry them in my dehydrator freeze some and turn some into cherry liqueur. The vintage mechanical cherry pitter I got on e-bay helps make the job easier. Hobart’s also sells cherry pitters.

A great way to spend a Sunday; many thanks to Charles for sharing this with us.