Sour Cherry Tree

IMG_2170About twenty years ago Neil and I moved downtown together from Washington Heights into a small one bedroom apartment on Second Avenue just around the corner from 19th street.  We moved one Spring day and I remember thinking how lovely and quiet the neighborhood was. So unlike the Height which were still pretty rough and kind of grim in those days.   Our new part of town was a kind of no man’s land north of the East Village and many blocks east of Gramercy Park – even though during our 13 years living there, real estate agencies started to call the entire neighborhood from First Avenue over: “Gramercy”.

I walked up and down 19th street between First and Second almost every day, but it wasn’t until late Summer that I noticed this small tree, growing in front of a quaint, small townhouse on a plot of land so small it might as well be growing between the cracks of  the sidewalk.  One day as I turned the corner I could see bright red cherries hanging from every branch.  This was a sour cherry tree!  It occurred to me on many occasion during this time to purchase a ski mask and come in the middle of the night to “liberate” these tasty, tart, fruits, but I never did.  As far as I could tell from the 13 years I lived around the corner this tree was totally left to its own devices: I never saw it being watered or trimmed or harvested.

My hope is that the owners of the building waited till the fruit was at its ripest before picking this amazing cooking cherries.  So sour and practically inedible from the branch, but with some sugar and a little cooking I don’t think there is anything better to make a pie or crumble from.

About urbanfoodguy

I'm a self taught cook with a dedication to buying and eating food that is as humanely and sustainably raised as possible. Which is why in addition to recipes you will see a lot of environmental/political reporting here. I started cooking when I was about 6, it's something I always loved to do. Watching Graham Kerr - aka "The Galloping Gourmet" - was what got me started and I have never really looked back. Over the years I've been a private chef, a caterer, and a food stylist for magazines such as Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Oprah, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food and many more. I've also worked in the prep kitchen for the Food Network on the Bobby Flay and Paula Deen shows. Now I work at home in my kitchen sharing with you here recipes that I create or that other people have created that inspire me and I think you will like. I love my neighborhood (the Lower East Side of Manhattan) and I love to travel. Because NYC is such a big place I tend to focus mostly on my 'hood and the ones that are close by: The East Village, Bowery, Chinatown and Williamsburg. My love of travel has no limits really, I'm always ready to get on a plane. I was lucky enough to have a business for many years that allowed me to spend a lot of time in South East Asia. These days I've been spending time in Mexico, Germany, Canada and the West Coast of the U.S., but check back you never know where I might end up. I do consulting, cooking classes, and freelance lifestyle writing so if you are interested please send me a note:
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1 Response to Sour Cherry Tree

  1. Pingback: Urban Foraging, Sour Cherries and Fire Hydrant Corn Fields in NYC | Urbanfoodguy

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