North Star cherry

spartan-appleJune 19, 2012

This year everything is early. I normally pick my North Star cherries July 4th-12th. The earliest year I ever picked was on June 25th. This year set a new record.

Last night I picked out the top of my cherry tree. The yield is way down from last year but glad to have some anyway. The cherry size is much smaller this year too.

We have a drought going on here. I have been watering once

a week by letting the hose run an hour under the tree but the fruit is still smaller than normal. The flavor is excellent though.

Tonight I will get the pitter out as I like to chill them

overnight before pitting. Less juice flowing when cold.

Despite my herculean efforts on netting the tree, I still had a robin get inside 3 times! I am sure it is the same bird as each morning he walks around my tree just staring at

my delicious cherries. Smart bird as we still cannot figure out how he got in the net. We sure had a hard time getting him out!

Time for the the cherry pies, cobblers and my all time favorite: cherry jam.

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franktank232(z5 WI)

I had to throw all my Evans sour cherries because every last one was infested with curculio larvae. That tree is marked for removal...

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:16PM
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ltilton

What kind of pitter do you use, spartan?

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 12:25PM
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myk1(5 IL)

"every last one was infested with curculio larvae. That tree is marked for removal..."

Because of curculio? They'll just move on to something else.
It's just like my Northstar was ignored by curculio until I sprayed my apples and then every cherry was hit.

I don't bother netting my Northstar. By the time the birds are eating them I'm ready to eat them. It's not like sweets where the birds will take them when they're green and hard.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2012 at 1:06PM
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spartan-apple

Tilton:

I have a NorPRo that clamps onto my breadboard. It is a plunger type that pits one cherry at a time. I am very happy with the results but unhappy that I cannot get replacement gaskets for it. The unit comes with 2 gaskets.
One got thrown away by accident after washing (they are orange and look like the plastic clip fasteners found on
bags of store-bought bread). They are a soft rubber and
prevent the cherry from falling thru the hole as the pit is
plunged out.

The unit does make a mess as the cherry juice splats on my
kitchen counter (wife is not happy!). She threatens to have me do it outside on the picnic table if I don't clean up well afterwards.

Perhaps there are better units for sale, but I am happy with it and have pitted a lot of cherries over the last 8 years from my North Star. In 2011, I got 28 quarts off my
tree (measured after pitting).

I would LOVE to find one of the old fashioned farm style
pitters that have the flywheel to crank. Perhaps some day
I will find one at an auction. A friend has one from their
old farmstead that must be 100 years old and still works good! Made of metal. My NOrPro is plastic.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:19PM
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spartan-apple

Frank:

I sprayed my North Star at petal fall with Imidan and then
used Imidan again on the second spraying. Since Imidan has
a 15 day clearance on stone fruits, I stop after the first two sprays.

Just when the fruit shows the first sign of pink I spray with Malathion and then net the tree the following day.

No curculo issues on my fruit. Imidan did the job again and did it well.

I wish my peaches were as good. Despite using Imidan, I got hit hard with curculio damage on 2 of my three peach
trees. Perhaps I should blame it on the well. The water
is coming up murky and full of sediment. I could not figure out why my sprayer was plugging up so much until I ran water into several buckets last time at my orchard.
The water was just full of crud. Never had a problem before with the water quality. I think the poor spray pattern I was getting may be part of the issue on the curculio damage on my peaches.

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 12:33PM
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ltilton

spartan - this one?

I got the Leifheit pitter that seems to be essentially the same as the one you describe. But if I were just doing jam, I'd have gotten the other.

Here is a link that might be useful: cherry stoner

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:43PM
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denninmi(8a)

I second the idea of pitting them when chilled. Not only less juice flows out, but they also don't get as mashed.

Alas, none to pit this year in Michigan, but have a pie for us, please!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2012 at 4:49PM
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myk1(5 IL)

"but unhappy that I cannot get replacement gaskets for it."

Mine only came with one gasket and it didn't last long.

I made a bunch for mine. I'm a jeweler with a vulcanizer for mold making. I vulcanized a sheet of the mold rubber to the correct thickness and cut gaskets out of it using my old one as a pattern.
These are lasting much longer.
Not exactly food grade but I doubt if much bad can come of it.

A vulcanizer is specialized equipment, especially now with pourable RTV molds but it may be worth checking around at jewelers that do custom design/casting.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 2:04PM
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ltilton

iirc, the Leifheit company offers replacement gaskets.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 5:09PM
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skyjs(z8 OR, USA)

Sometimes we us a chopstick as a pitter. It works well. We bought a pitter at bed bath and beyond. It also works well. No replacement parts.

Northstar is yummy but we get bacterial disease bad on it here.
John S
PDX OR

    Bookmark   June 21, 2012 at 11:51PM
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