I saw their sign and pulled right over. Fresh Cherries. A young family, over all the way from Washington state, with baby and tots in tow, had set up their table and put up their sign and piled their cherries in heaps on their tables. I remembered them from last year, and they were probably here the year before that. The father happily plucked a cherry from where it sat in a heap with all the other Rainiers, in cheerful reds and yellows, topsy-turvy with stems askew, and handed it to me.
Summer in my mouth.
I grew up in cherry country. In northwestern Montana, around Flathead Lake, cherry orchards line the hills and shorelines, similar to the way the vineyards do in Napa Valley. Cherry season marks the weeks in mid to late July, when the valley is overrun by them at every market, grocery, and roadside shack. Cherries by the gallon were not an unusual situation at most households I knew.
And here they were, brought by this sweet family from Washington, to our non-cherry growing country here in northern Wyoming (Flathead cherries will be showing up here, roadside, in a couple weeks!). The part of me that imagines strolling the open markets in France, or the big farmers’ markets in Anchorage, or Seattle, or New York, where heaps of every seasonal variety of fruit or vegetable abounds, gets to step out of her car, and stroll a one-booth market right here, mid-week, in Wyoming. It's about living well.
When you choose to live a stone’s throw from the mountains, outside a tiny town with one gas station store, with the closest farmer’s market a twenty mile drive away, and only found once a week on Saturdays or every third Thursday evening, you tend to mostly grow your own. Onions, broccoli, cabbage, herbs, tomatoes, beans, peas, these sorts of things. Going to the market means grabbing a basket from the shelf and walking across the lawn to the garden. Or, it means snipping from a friend’s garden those things you don’t have in your own.
Or, it’s pulling over to the side of the road when you see a single tent with a sign that says Fresh Cherries.
Here, I write on living well. Where tasteful design and simple living meet in an inspired, organic way.
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