IQF Cherry Pickup! Call Now to Place Your Orders
Pick up Dates Are: Friday, August 5th 9am to Noon
Saturday August 6th, 9am to Noon
IQF Blueberries - 30 lbs
IQF Sour Cherries - 20 lbs or 40 lbs
***NEW! IQF Sweet Cherries - 40lbs ***
Please note that we don't have enough freezer space to store frozen fruit past noon. Come as close to 9am as you can to make sure your cherries thaw as little as possible!
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Do you have a favorite sour cherry recipe? Post it as a comment on this post for a chance to win 4lbs of IQF Cherries! A winner will be randomly selected on August 5th.
Have you ever seen a cherry shaker?
They look pretty strange. There are two very similar halves that go on either side of the tree, each driven independently by a 'tractor', tucked beneath a large, moveable, piece of yellow canvas stretched on a metal framework. A big pair of retractable pincers is nestled in the middle of one half. The pincers grab the tree and shake it! Ripe cherries tumble onto the canvas and cascade down the angled fabric, while a conveyor belt on the other half of the machine catches the cherries, sending them into a giant bin full of water and ice. I can totally imagine the thought process that went into designing this contraption!
The Kirby brothers (Francis, George, Bob, and John) invested in a cherry shaker together around 1980. Every year each farm would send a representative or two to help out as the cherry shaker made it's way from orchard to orchard. You need a truck driver, someone to man both halves of the shaker, people to drive the tractor or two moving bins around and loading them on the truck, as well as several people to fill bins with ice and water.
My empathy for trees and the serious demeanor of everyone involved, combined with the activity, noise, and vibrations in a place normally so quiet and tranquil, all added up to make quite the impression on my seven year old mind. Every year we would go out to the orchard to watch. If you're interested, there are some videos on youtube showing how the different parts of a cherry shaker work! I'll try to get some photos up of our cherry harvest this year.
The Kirby clan has sent many tons of cherries to the processor over the years. Only a small fraction goes to market as fresh fruit because they just don't keep that long. (They're fresh picked in the market RIGHT NOW, grab 'em while you can!) The cherries are washed, pitted, and frozen at the processors. From there they go to various companies to be made into pie fillings, juices, etcetera.
For decades large tins of frozen cherries, some of them sugared, were available to retailers and the public. Anyone remember those? My Dad made a trip to Middleport twice a year, bringing back a truckload of frozen cherries to fill the orders. People line up in the front room, pick up their cherries, pay at the register, and whisk them away to their freezers to enjoy a year of pies, cobblers, and other cherry dishes. It goes like clockwork!
There aren't too many things that have changed over the years...
Instead of a tin full of frozen cherries that often stuck together in blocks, the fruit is now quick frozen so they pour out like marbles, and packed in large blue plastic bags. After a fire closed the plant in Middleport, we now get our truckload of IQF cherries from Holley Cold Pack, along with IQF Blueberries.
The biggest change is that you can get IQF fruit from Kirby's whenever we're open, May-December. We have a freezer in the market full of 4-8 pound bags of fruit - sweet cherries, sour cherries, and blueberries. We still have the big IQF event each year (coming up soon!) because as always, you save money by ordering large amounts.