Friday, June 9, 2017


For this week's arts and culture piece, I went and picked my own damn cherries!

Here's how the piece begins:

Ever since my first spring in Los Angeles 27 years ago, my heart sings at the opening of cherry season. And every year for about the last 20, I have told myself I’m going to take a field trip and pick my own.

This year I finally did. One good place to start is the town of Leona Valley, outside Palmdale, which is a kind of cherry mecca.

Even before embarking, I could see it was a whole other world up there. The farm stands sell local farm-fresh honey and eggs. The names of the cherry varieties conjured visions of Tuscany: Tartarian, Tieton, Chelan, Lapins.

There were many orchards to choose from. One website proclaimed in bold letters: “Remember, we have a $5 per person minimum purchase and we do not allow eating the cherries while picking in the orchard. Pick, pay then eat!”

I was almost tempted to visit that one just to see how the rule was enforced. Did a guy with a cattle prod wander around zapping anyone caught sneaking a stray Rainier? Did a gal in a Smokey’s hat patrol the orchard with a bullhorn, braying, “You, clad weirdly in black and clutching a rosary, I saw you scarf that Bing!”


1 comment:

  1. Beautiful story, beautiful writing.

    That must be why cherries are so dang expensive.

    In Oregon, our neighbor had a cherry tree. We kids would just lob them at each other across the fence. Arg, such waste!


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