In Praise of Cherries

cherries6

It’s cherry season here in Door County. There are signs for pick-your-own, and the processing plants are humming.

I could give you statistics: Door County’s place in the top five of the country’s tart-cherry producers, the 6 million pound crop that’s expected this year, the fact that each tree yields approximately 7,000 cherries. (See more here: http://cherries.doorcounty.com/door-county-cherry-facts/

I could give you facts about the fascinating history: the hordes of migrant workers that came to pick and to pit and to can. There is proof in the migrant workers shacks that remain scattered about the county.

I am most intrigued by this historical fact: German POW’s were imported here during WW2 to work in the orchards and dairy farms while the men were away. So imagine those women who remained to run the farms: here are men in my outbuildings whose brothers could be pointing guns, doing battle with my husband, my sons. Remarkably, the accounts of the interactions were all positive. Many Germans immigrated back here after war, having found Door County a better place than their home.

I could give you recipes ( and I just might, in my next blog post).

However, today, let me celebrate the beauty of this fruit.

When we pick them: Oh! the red fruit amidst green leaves against a blue sky….cherries2

I have watched the change in the orchards for the first time this year. In late winter I was awestruck by the red that tinged the orchards.

cherrytreeswinter2

And then there were the blossoms of spring.

blossom

And now, there are the ripe, full, gorgeous cherries ready for picking, ready for pitting, ready for eating.

cherrytrees3

Last night, on the way to watch the sunset, we drove by four orchards. The cherry shakers have long replaced migrant workers, and I am not sure if this is a good thing or bad.

cherryshaker

But though technology has changed the harvest, only the shift of seasons, the sun, the rain, and the land can create cherries.

In church a few months ago, someone asked God, during prayer time, to be gentle with the expected afternoon thunderstorms. “Please protect the cherry harvest,” she prayed.  I was a bit unused to such thinking ( I also might as well admit that in my big-city snobbery, it felt a bit provincial, primitive.)  But she was right, of course.

The sunshine, the weather, the soil: these things are beyond the hand of man.cherrytrees7

I am glad to live in a place where man’s impact is minimal and God’s signature is obvious, unmistakable.

Often, in these new environs, I feel like I am in a holy place.

Today, again, I feel this holiness: the glory, the wonder, the beauty of cherries.

cherries

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