Turns out that we have a tart cherry tree growing on the median in front of our apartment. The city of Cambridge planted it as part of an "urban orchard" project, but after a quick poll of the neighbors, I found out that no one harvests from it. Most people assumed the cherries weren't edible, and ok they are pretty sour straight off the tree, but with just a little sugar they start to smell like the best maraschino cherries you've never had with a hint of almond. Tart cherries are almost impossible to find at the store because they don't travel well. I've been picking and pitting like a crazy person for a few days now and this morning I made my first batch of tart cherry preserves. Yep, that lurid red color is all-natural.
More fruit ripens every day so I've got plans for boozy cocktail cherries, cherry maramalade or maybe lime-ade, and possibly freezing the rest for baking. I bet my fruitcake would be good with boozy tart cherries in it! Fresh fruit can be prohibitively pricey here, even at the farmer's markets, and we aren't as close to a pick-your-own, so I feel really lucky to have "local, organic" specialty fruit right in front of the house. Next up, I'm keeping an eye on the nectarine tree down the street.
** before you freak about lead poisoning, I've done the research and the amount of lead taken up into fruit trees is negligible - it is the spinach and carrots you have to worry about. And who knows what was in the soil for that stuff you buy at the store.
My first snapdragon bloom! I started these from seed months ago and was starting to think they'd never bloom. So far the yellow ones are farthest along.
Below: Since I've been busy with the cherries and the weather was so nice, The Boys cooked dinner last night.