As I have told you all before, I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Montana, it truly is God’s country. Well, a few weeks ago my daughters and I made our annual trip to Montana to visit family. A month or so before we went I came up with the idea to try to find a u-pick cherry orchard. My girls love to see how fruits and vegtables are grown and be able to eat them right off the plant. As a kid I had eaten many cherries from road side stands along the lake, however we never went and picked our own so this was going to be a whole new adventure for me too.
There are many cherry orchards along the large and gorgeous Flathead Lake in Western Montana. They grow a variety of cherries, but the plump juicy red ones are the favorite. This was the setting of the beautiful orchard where we picked our truck load of cherries. It can’t get much prettier than that, a gorgeous cherry orchard surrounded by an amazing lake and majestic mountains.
We picked our haul of cherries at Caroline Point Orchards right behind their iconic big red ‘Cherry Haus’ road side stand. The people at Caroline Orchards were extremly nice and accomidating to our little group of pickers.
The cherry trees were so beautiful in the orchard and even though it was a hot sunny day we were protected by the thick covering of the cherry trees leaves as we picked our delicious harvest.
Look at those huge juicy cherries hanging from the tree in the bright clear blue sky. Gorgeous.
This is our Katelyn showing off her first handful of cherries. The kids were shoveling the cherries in their mouths as soon as we stepped out of the car. All of the girls had so much fun picking and eating a TON of cherries.
Ashley was working hard carrying around buckets and filling them up with the cherries that we had knocked out of the trees and onto the white sheet.
A little teamwork to empty the small buckets into the big ones.
In about 3 hours or so we ended up with about 4 coolers filled with around 50+ pounds of cherries. I would say that is a good day’s work and not to mention a delicious one!
This year’s harvest produced large to extra large cherries that were extremely juicy. Each tree did not yeild as many cherries as normal, however the quality and size were amazing. These were the best cherries I have ever eaten and probably the most juicy.
This is all of our purple hands after picking cherries all day. We all had so much fun and created memories to last a lifetime. Can’t wait to do it again someday!
Well, with a garage full of cherries we had to make something tasty before my daughters and I headed home to California. So we decided on a simple but delicious cherry crisp. The last night we were there we took a picnic dinner to the park and took along this delicious cherry crisp too. Everyone loved the flavors in this dessert. The topping is to die for! Someday I am going to just make some of the topping by itself, bake and use it to top some ice cream. Ohhh, I think it would be amazing! Since the topping is so delicious we all thought it could use some more. I made this recipe another time after our picnic and I made 1 1/2 times the topping and I thought it was perfect!
So if you have access to fresh cherries or even if you have some frozen, you should try this delicious cherry crisp served up with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream. This is a great way to extend the feeling of summer just a little longer.
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For the Crisp Topping:
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
¾ cup pecans, finely chopped
For the Cherries:
6 cups fresh cherries, pitted
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and adjust oven rack to lower-middle position.
2. To prepare the topping, whisk together the flour, sugars, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter pieces and toss to coat with flour. Using your fingers, pinch the butter pieces together with the flour mixture until the mixture looks crumbly and like wet sand. Add the pecans and toss to distribute evenly. Refrigerate the topping mixture for at least 15 minutes.
3. While the topping mixture chills, get the cherries ready. In a small baking dish (about 1.5-qt or 8×8-inch), toss the cherries with the sugar, cornstarch and Amaretto. Sprinkle the topping mixture evenly over the cherries.
4. Bake for 40 minutes, then increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F and continue to bake until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is deep golden brown, about 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker