Wendell Berry’s “Fall
Years ago I owned a weekend “hobby farm” about 3 hours outside Washington, DC. During the week I worked as a technical consultant at a large multi-national firm in the city, but come Friday evening I would leave the traffic, noise and lights of the DC Metro Area in the rear view mirror as I drove north to my farm.
The farm consisted of a 150 year old farm house, a bank barn and various outbuildings. It also featured an orchard lined with apple, peach and cherry trees. In the fall, I would endure aerial assaults from the birds as I harvested cherries in the golden light of autumn. The wood slat bushel basket would creak in time with my movements on the ladder as I delivered the dark red cherries to the basket. After hours of cherry picking and arguments with the crows about who owned the orchard I would take the cherries inside, wash them and take a deep inhale of their perfume. Then I would hear the pecking on the kitchen window of a crow who wished to reclaim what was rightfully his.
These days I run a chocolate business in Florida and few things go together so well as fresh cherries and chocolate. The chocolate dipped cherries recipe below is one that has been used successfully at weddings as well as a comfort snack after a long day of work, My recommendation: use the best quality chocolate you can lay your hands on and dip away. Dark chocolate has been shown to have great effects on your cardiovascular system and fresh cherries are loaded with antioxidants, so don’t feel guilty. Whether you are making these to impress or just curling up in your chair with a good book for some “me time, ” these little gems are sure to please.
The wild cherries ripen, black and fat,
Paradisal fruits that taste of no man’s
Reach up, pull down the laden branch,
When you have learned their
Bitterness, they taste sweet.
Chocolate Dipped Cherries
You can enjoy these with fudge brownies, on their own, or as part of a dessert buffet. When dipping the cherries in the melted chocolate, be sure the cherries are completely dry, as even a drop of water can cause the chocolate to “seize”, becoming a chalky, semi-solid mass that will not set properly.
6 oz. bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate chopped
24 large fresh cherries with stems
Line baking sheet with wax paper. Place chocolate in top of double boiler set over barely simmering water. Stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove chocolate from over water. Hold 1 cherry by stem, dip cherry halfway into chocolate. Place cherry, chocolate side down on prepared sheet. Repeat with the remaining cherries and chocolate. Chill cherries until chocolate coating is firm, minimum 15 minutes. (Can prepare 2 days in advance. Cover loosely and keep chilled) Suggestion: Serve with a nice glass of port or champagne.
Photo by Ed Ivanushkin, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Kathryn Neel.
Browse more Eating and Drinking Poems
Browse more Poets and Poems
- Eating and Drinking Poems: WendellBerry’s “Fall” - October 24, 2014
- Eating & Drinking Poems: Dorianne Laux’s “A Short History of the Apple” - September 12, 2014
- Eating and Drinking Poems: May Swenson’s “Strawberrying” - August 8, 2014
I cheered (on the inside) when you got to the chocolate… 🙂
Maureen Doallas says
I can pass on the chocolate but not the fresh cherries.
Interestingly, around these PNW parts, the arrival of the cherry marks the beginning of summer’s orchard fruits rather than the conclusion. Either way, this piece is a multi-sensory delight… from barns to fruit to chocolate.
Now to figure out what a bank barn looks like…
Marcy Terwilliger says
Enjoyed your lively article, these must be a different cherry, a late one to harvest. Nothing is said about a pit. I’m with Darlene on the harvest, since in the south ours came during the summer months, pits and all. When you talked about a “bank barn” I must goggle that, down south I’ve never heard of such. What I do love is dark chocolate and cherries no matter when the season. Love the land and living in the rolling hills of the county, peace.
Megan Willome says
Kathryn, you know the crows simply allowed you to use their orchard, don’t you? They simply had to let you know who was in charge. 🙂
Marcy Terwilliger says
I just love the crows, such sweet birds. People just don’t understand them, they really should take the time and have tea with them.