The tables at the Sunday farmers market were groaning with early fruits and berries, especially cherries. Here's the cherry display at the Dupont Circle market.
Normally we would be out picking our own tart cherries--15 pounds or more to make pies and cobblers and freeze for the rest of the year. But somehow we haven't been motivated to drive to the orchard, especially after I discovered Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, Michigan.
Tree-Mendus Farm, a family run operation going back three generations, grows cherries, peaches and apples, including more than 200 varieties of heirloom apples. They will ship a 10-pound container of frozen tart cherries, already pitted and cleaned, for $33 (plus shipping). I'm trying to decide how that stacks up against driving 30 miles each way to our favorite tart cherry picking site--Butler's Orchard in Germantown, Maryland.
We love hanging out at the orchard, but at current rates, the cost of gas comes to more than $8 plus all the CO2 emissions and the time spent pitting the cherries. Before you know it, you've spent the better part of a day on cherries, but then we have a year's worth of tart cherries all bagged in convenient pie-portion packages.
Could it really be more environmentally friendly (cheaper, even) to have our tart cherries shipped from Michigan? Or is it more important to support our local farm, even if it means burning all that gas?