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!)