Berries & cherries & time! Oh My!

Wineberry fruitWell, if the weather cooperates, it looks like I’ll be heading to Paw-Paw, WV, this weekend to pick wineberries. I’m planning to take more than a few pictures so watch for them soon.

The berries here in Maryland are really sporadic this year. You can findWineberry buds three bushes side by side on the same hillside with the same exposure and one will have berries so ripe they’re falling off the plant while the others are mostly green still — or orange at best. It’s gotta have something to do with the Easter freeze or the dry spring, I’ll bet.

My intent was for this to be my one and only summer wine this year. I’m out of carboys and I’m out of time. Something’s got to give, so…no peach wine, no cherry wine, no plum wine. Sorry. No. I just can’t do it…

Well, as those of you who know me may have predicted, I couldn’t just sit around waiting for the wineberries to get ripe. Making wine gets to be a compulsion at a certain point. I go to my Dad’s house for an innocent visit and, Lo! his Montmorency cherry tree is loaded with fully ripe, red fruit — and boy, it looks, smells, and just tastes great! Which reminds me of some of the awesome Door County, Wisconsin cherry wines I’ve had in the past.

“Hell, I can’t pick it”, he says, “Take it…or leave it for the birds.” So what can I do? I mean, come on, I can’t very well leave it for the birds, now, can I?? Really…what would they do with it?? So I pick it…and pick it…15 poundsMontmorency cherries worth.

Cool! That’s enough for a good batch of wine. Now I’ve got something to do while I wait for those wineberries.

It’s practically dark by now. I can’t tell a clean cherry from a blighted one anymore. So I go into the house with my bucket. I’m done.

“You know, my buddy Hiram has a couple of trees that he put in at the same time I put in mine”, my Dad says. “We bought them together from Don Deckman’s nursery”.

Cripes, here it comes…

“I called him and he says to come on over, they’re just going to rot.”

Sigh…I am so, so weak.

So 20 pounds and another day later I’ve got 35 pounds of fruit to process. I can’t say no. I just can’t. It’s a character flaw I guess… 🙂

Is that it? (Those of you who know me will say “Of course not”!)

Of course not! Because Dad has also got a Mulberry tree in his back yard. And I had an absolutely wonderful Mulberry wine that George Carroll made when we went to his house for the May wine club meeting.

Well, as long as I’m picking cherries anyway, I might as well, you know, throw a tarp down and see what I can shake out of that tree, right? I mean, at this point I’m overdrawn on time and carboys anyway. And I’m coming back tomorrow anyway to take advantage of Hiram’s trees. It really wouldn’t be any trouble to swing by here again on the way. Might as well go a little deeper into “debt”, I figure. Now I start to get excited…

(Oh how it all stinks of rationalization when I write it down!)

2 crummy pounds. The worst possible scenario. Too much to leave on the ground but not nearly enough for a worthwhile batch of wine. (Can you see where this is headed yet? Yeah, I thought you could.)

But that’s another post…

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