I would not of thought....

rosecavalier(3 AB)November 9, 2012

It often intrigues me how time changes what one takes for granted.

Sourcing what I refer to as "high quality foods" is an enjoyable preoccupation for me and what the "land" has to offer can be amazing.

Each fall I travel to the "cut block" areas (where forestry companies have harvested previously)to pick blueberries...and in the past, under the right conditions, these cut blocks would be blue with an unending sea of food for humans and fauna alike. There was no way that two or four legged consumers of these delectable morsels would bicker...everyone would share the wealth. Everyone ended up with an extra inch of fat around their midsection!

What I thought as an inexhaustible supply in recent years has become somewhat exhausted. Two of my favorite patches southeast and southwest of Grande Prairie have been sprayed with broadleaf herbicide by the local forestry companies to eliminate willow and poplar competition in coniferous stands...too bad for me and my furry friends...I would not of thought...

I'm always interested when someone mentions fruit/berry picking and I heard that there was a cherry orchard on the north side of the Peace River near Berwyn, Alberta. So I decided to pay a visit.

Was I impressed...I had been conditioned, as a northerner, that you drive south for cherries...a long ways south...to the Okanagan valley of British Columbia. This far north, well maintained orchard had five or six cultivars of hardy cherries and they were loaded...I would not of thought...

This photo is from a Cupid cherry bush...so we picked 33lbs, travelled home, and over the next two days pitted and stored them in the freezer...a wonderful experience in high quality food procurement.

This time of year we reap the rewards of our labor:

And I must say that the cherries are excellent in every way...as good as the wild blueberries...I would not of thought...

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xaroline(zone 3 Calgary)

That is sad about the blueberries being destroyed.
And interesting that there is a cherry orchard so far north.
My Carmine Jewel is still small.
My neighbour has two cherry trees which were just loaded this year.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:23PM
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I'm really looking forward to my collection of ten cherry bushes coming into production! I just wish there was a good blueberry patch nearby and that the commercially available mid and highbush varieties were fully hardy, to which I've given up on them.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 2:55PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Looking good!
How do you get the pits out? I found out it can be a problem with small sherries.

Fruit production was good this year in most places, we have lots of honeyberries, black currant and plums in freezer. Still makeing some wine with around 100lb of Evans.

This from Oct.14
Cherry plums on the left, sprouts sunshine and Auenbacher prune plums.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2012 at 10:11PM
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Dang! I just broke my fork trying to get at those pies.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 12:10PM
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north53 Z1b MB(zone 1b Canada)

Is that a custard topping on the pies in the last picture?
Looks yummy!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 1:21PM
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Pudge 2b

Oh my gosh, yum, yum, and yum.

now I want pie

    Bookmark   November 10, 2012 at 3:34PM
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rosecavalier(3 AB)

Caroline: Yes, that is a long ways north to have a large cherry orchard, and a real testament to the Stuart family's persistence to get it established...a Herculean task...I'm sure it took a decade of TLC. And, of course, I'm grateful to the fertile mind(s) that developed the hardy cherry cultivars in the first place..that likely took two decades of TLC or more...would you or some of our readers know what individuals were involved in this breeding program?

Terrance: Ten cherry trees...that will yield a lot of fruit...have you tried to get them established before? My son-in-law has had 2 Evans trees die back to the ground and has given up...to me, it looked like they were not hardening off before winter...perhaps because of excess nitrogen...they were planted on an old barnyard site.

Konrad: In the photo below you will see the brand of pitter I use...recommended and sold by the Stuarts (orchardist)...and you are absolutely correct on the pitter not working so well on the smaller cherries.

Because of the heavy crop, I had the wasteful luxury of picking the large cherries. In the photo you can see the transparent pit catch compartment at the bottom...instead of disposing of the pits, I stewed them for 15 minutes and made pancake syrup...I mix that with wild chokecherry syrup...mmm..mmm.

The photos of your fruit and subsequent pie are exquisite...maybe we should have a pie cook-off! Are the yellow plums the same as Mirabellan plums? How do you get your grapes to ripen?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 9:15AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Thank you Rose, ...I had the same or similar pitter some years ago from Bosch Kitchen Center but returned it because of the odd misses. Now we use single pitter, there you can physically feel the pit in your hand,..just because it's safer on your teeth.

The yellow sprouts sunshine is larger, needs pollination, super hardy, probably you can grow them too. The Mirabelle is a European and self fruitful, [needs shelter, not that hardy] super sweet, needs a longer season, did well this year and last, picked around mid Oct, same with grape.

North,..custard topping is made from 4 eggs, mixed with some milk, wife adopt it from my Mom's recipe.

I put a little Cupid in this year...will see how they compare to Evans.

Here a Evans and Sprout's Sunshine Plum

    Bookmark   November 11, 2012 at 2:55PM
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I think this thread should come with the warning that it is NOT to be viewed while on an empty stomach!

rosecavalier, I no longer grow 'Evans', my trees had previously grown wonderfully to about 10 ft, then were killed nearly outright by a very hard spring frost while breaking dormancy. My aunt's large thriving trees have gone into steep decline and will soon perish.

My U of S collection appears to be about a year behind the bushes shown above. There was a few cherries this year that I have to say were rather very good.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 6:07PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

LOL CLBlakey & Terry

I have lots of Evans...perhaps we can trade, can you spare some waterlilies?..I only have one left, [white] in the pond which survived the last winter, I know,..suppose to take them out in the fall, hopefully when the root cellar is complete next year I'll be more attentive.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2012 at 7:11PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Rose,..have you checked on the cherries this year,..just wondering how they set fruit.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 12:26AM
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ostrich(3a AB)

WOW! With all of these scrumptious looking pies, you guys are all making me hungry now!!! :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 1:29AM
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rosecavalier(3 AB)

Hi Konrad...about two/three weeks ago I visited the cherry orchard at Berwyn, Alberta (Zone 2) and picked my winter supply...they were absolutely loaded...I mean absolutely LOADED.

This year in the Peace River Country it has been very hot and very dry...and obviously they love those conditions. The orchard is located in an exposed field...no windbreaks but there is an irrigation system installed...the orchard is at least ten years old and is the "true" testament of what is a hardy cherry variety. I believe there are at least 6 varieties in the orchard and we picked Crimson Passion cherries exclusively this year...under the conditions at the time, I detected a slightly sweeter flavor with these compared to the other varieties. Also, the cherries were large this year...so the pitting went well.

By the way, the orchardist (J Stuart) doesn't think much of the Evans cherry...I could see why...winter/spring kill and very few berries...

I was impressed at how his other varieties have grown in mass in two years...wasn't there last year as it was a poor crop...but they are still what I consider "shrubs", not "trees"...presently about 5 ft tall and likely not to get much taller.

That possibly proves that cherry plants don't have to be large to produce huge crops...as a matter of fact, it appears that may be a hindrance in our climate...(Evans are the tallest variety that I have seen so far)...would your observations lead you to a similar conclusion?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 6:57AM
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What are your collective thoughts about growing cherry trees in a high hoop house? Would this provide that added protection against those late spring freezes?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 8:07PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Good to hear Rose!
So it was their brake for them this year,.. they must be on a good spot also, perhaps on higher elevation?
Think you're right about tree size.

I've talked to a lady up in Grassland AB and she said...

I have cherries but this year the cherries are like the plums, picked maybe 10, where usually get 5 or 6 ice cream pails full. Have some of the U of S cherries but they are Hit and miss for cherries.

Does anybody know how it was for cherries in Saskatchewan this year?

I have no experience in this but I think it would work.
In your zone 3, you should be able to grow some of the U of S
cherries in a sheltered spot,..put them against house or a bush. I put lots of evergreens in, planting them against close, will help smoothing out fluctuating temperature,..trees giving off warmth.
Higher elevation helps allot also, ...a difference of only 6 to 8 feet can make the fruits set. I gave about 12 Evans Cherry trees a drink of roundup last year, ..[about 6 to 8 foot lower then the rest] in close to 20 years they never produced.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2014 at 12:22AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

>>I visited the cherry orchard at Berwyn, Alberta (Zone 2) According to zone map, [USDA]...Edmonton area is zone 3b, Berwyn 3a.
According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada map, Berwyn is around zone 1a, 1b, Edmonton zone 3a.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant Hardiness Zones of Canada

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 1:23PM
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My Evans cherry is usually loaded, but this year I only got a handful. I blamed that on what I believe is bacterial canker on the trunk...The tree is about 15 years old and has been ailing for a few years; I told my husband to cut it down. I'm not sure if I want to plant another one in its place. Does anyone know whether cherries have the same property as apples (can't plant another one in the same spot)?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 1:50PM
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rosecavalier(3 AB)

Konrad...also I was told that a commercial beekeeper has a yard of beehives 3/4 mile to the west of the cherry orchard...do you find that your honeybees have a preference for cherry trees in your orchard(s)...have you done a varroa mite check yet?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 8:26AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Donna...if it was me, I would plant in the same spot, most often, canker look like appearance is brought on from winter/frost/freeze/thaw injury to the bark.

Rose.. honeybees are in the Evans Cherries..but it's not buzzing as I would like it to see, so guess I would say no preference,...the Dandelions are flowering!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2014 at 11:58AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

>>have you done a varroa mite check yet?No,...it will be this week, ..still have to pull a couple of supers for second extraction,..but, I might not do it,..thinking to keep it back for spring feeding. One weak hive, [swarm] got robed of all their honey from wasp and starved to death,..it's been the worst year with wasp as I remember. My fault,..should have watched more closely!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 2:02AM
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