Sunday, August 23, 2015

Red Lodge Farm

This weekend we had the plan of going to this orchard to pick Sour Cherry, the fruit which is not favoured here in West but surprisingly exists! We had picked them earlier in Surrey and The Saskatoon Farm. Red Lodge U-pick is near town of Bowden in central Alberta. It felt a little too long to reach there but we were able to find the place quite easily. The one problem was when we were almost at Red Lodge Provincial Park on westbound Highway 587, we saw a sign which was directing to the orchard (saying 6 Km) but without stopping, in the corner of my eyes I also saw, below it: Closed! So I was a bit surprised as why it would be closed on a weekend, especially because i had called earlier and the message on the phone indicates nothing about closure. We kept going and when we reached Range Road 31 and I was ready to make a left, I saw the same sign that I had seen in Google Maps with this difference that I was able to read it, on the road. The same Closed was written but on the right it said: Tues! So we figured the sign would be close don Tuesdays! 
We got to the property which is signed and directed nicely and parked and immediately greeted by a gentleman who happens to be the son of the owner. We were given buckets and direction to the field. I was surprised by the amount of Sour Cherries on the trees. Raspberries were not bad either but we wanted to focus on the first kind, first. The problem that we found soon was a large amount of fruits had been damaged by the bugs and birds. We realized that we had to be careful and inspect every single piece before putting it in the basket. 
The Pitting Machine is quite amazing. Someone came up with thoughtful idea!
The weather was nice and sunny but not too hot so we kept going for a while until I realized I did not have enough cash. We had two full buckets and decided to pay and possibly get more cash either from Bowden or Olds. The two buckets worked out to be $35 which was not bad but we were kind of disappointed that we had driven for one hour and not able to pick enough. We decided to go back to go the city and leave the rest for the bees, ants and other bugs, as well as birds and other possible customers! However we would like to check the place out at least one more time and pick enough for the rest of the year. Before leaving the premises we realized that they had a Pitting Machine as well but we didn't use it because it had to be washed and we had to stay another hour or so. 
When we got back to home I spent 2 freaking hours to pit all of them. I had to get rid of at least two handful of them. The plan is to make some fruit-bars and possibly later jam and maybe dried fruit. We'll see. 
(Photo, top: The trees are full of fruit but because they have been left untouched and not picked after ripened, many of them are being eaten by bugs and birds. I hope we can pick at least 4 buckets next week and add to the two buckets of this week minus the bad ones that I had to trow away!)

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