Hartland Cherries: Kauffman’s Fruit Farm

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By Heidi Lewis

How many people say “worth two in the bush!” when they enter the town  limits of Bird-in-Hand in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania? We don’t know,  but FruitGuys buyer Jessica says it when she heads to Bird-in-Hand to talk  with Kauffman’s Fruit Farm about their summer fruit.

Kauffman’s Fruit Farm was started in 1911 by Amos Kauffman and is  still run by members of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations. Over the last  century, the extended Kauffman family has stayed abreast of changing  consumer needs and thrived. They also have a market on Route 340  offering many Pennsylvania Dutch country treats and staples.

The farm’s 92 acres consist mostly of apples (50 varieties) and peaches (35  acres) and include seven acres of cherries, pears, and plums. This week’s  Regional TakeHome case features some of Kauffman’s Hartland cherries.  “We grow more Hartland than any other cherry,” says Mike Kauffman.  Hartlands are a mid-cherry-season cherry, which means they’re available  for a fleetingly short time, and as a result are prized by cherry lovers.

“They are a great tasting cherry, a little deeper and less sweet than the  Bing,” says Mike. Bings tend to be the benchmark that most fresh sweet  cherries are held to, but Hartlands have their own place in the heart of  Lancaster County.

Preparation: Pit cherries the old-fashioned way (with your mouth, being  careful not to swallow the pit); use a handheld pitter; or carefully slice and  de-pit with the tip of a paring knife. Cherry pit–spitting manners may vary  from family to family—but a pair of cherries over the ears is in fashion  everywhere.

Storage: If your cherries last uneaten for more than a day, store unwashed  in a plastic bag in the fridge for a week or so. When ready to use, rinse  and let warm to room temperature for best flavor. (Although they’re also  great pitted and frozen for a refreshing treat in the hot summer months!)

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