Sweet Cherries are a temperamental fruit, here in central New York. So many things can go wrong, that we assume we’ll get a good crop once every 3 years. To expect regularity is a set up for heartbreak. Although they are hardy, fruit buds can be lost in wintertime extreme temperature swings. Since sweet cherries are one of the first cherries to bloom, the crop can often be lost to a late spring frost. And then as the fruit nears ripening in late June it becomes susceptible to cracking and splitting if there are heavy or prolonged rains. If this happens before harvest, the fruit can rot before it ripens.
But in a good year, when the gods are smiling on our orchard, our 2 acres of 30 year old full sized trees (which are nearly 20 feet tall and must be picked with this machine) bear a crop so huge and heavy that we can not possibly sell it all in the short 3 weeks of cherry season. So on those good years we make black cherry wine.
We run all of them through James’ family heirloom hand-crank crusher. The cherries get macerated, but the pits don’t get crushed.
Alas. For all the luck, the work, the picking and crushing we’ll get about 150 gallons of deep black luscious cherry wine. Ready to bottle by September and probably sold out before Christmas.