I’m a personal chef in New York City, but I wear a lot of food-related hats. I’m a food writer, a food presenter, a caterer, and a brand ambassador. I represent an American dried fruit company in Washington State called Stoneridge Orchards. As a brand ambassador, I create recipes using their dried fruits for their website, video series and promotional materials. I do cooking demonstrations at live events, make food items for media deliveries, and help represent them at food festivals and shows.
Stoneridge Orchards is owned and operated by the Dorsing family on a farm of about 2,500 acres planted with cherry and apple orchards and blueberry fields. The true roots of these fruit-bearing trees and plants are family tradition and love. The hard work and pride that has been passed down through five generations is worn like a family crest by the Dorsing men and women. I am convinced the dried fruit I enjoy so much, and this brand I represent, really get its high quality and flavour from this tradition, hard work and pride. Sure, the high desert climate makes for good fruit growing and they have a crackerjack team of pickers, sorters, dryers, and packagers, but when I open up a bag of SRO’s dried cherries or blueberries, I can taste the love.
Last summer I was a media guest at the Stoneridge Orchards cherry harvest at Dorsing Farm in Royal City, WA. The harvest! The Dorsing brothers took time out of their busy lives of running the business to create a full experience for us. Our day started with a tour of the orchards and fruit growing fields, followed by a lunch hosted by the Dorsing family ladies on the farm, and then a fascinating tour of the processing plant. I finished up the day serving some Stoneridge Orchards treats I’d prepared for everyone and a bit of a cooking demo.
We all took turns driving the hydraulic cherry tree shaker that attaches to the trees and vibrates them vigorously onto a conveyor belt with a catchall ‘pan’ that collect thousands of ripe cherries. This method keeps the trees healthy and undamaged for future growing seasons. It literally rained cherries! Never have I ever tasted a cherry so delicious.
The processing plant was a lot like Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. So many magical workers behind the scenes making sure that every single piece of fruit that makes it into a bag is of superior quality. Conveyor belt after conveyor belt, bleeding red and blue from the pounds of fruit making its way from check point to check point. It was hypnotising to watch. The drying rooms just smelled like cobbler. Truly. Cherry or blueberry cobbler baking away in some grandmother’s oven came to mind with the smell of the fruit drying.
And speaking of cobbler…we were served a cherry crisp at the family farm lunch and I’ve made my version. As cherries are abundant in Australia right now, I thought this would be the perfect recipe to share.
DARK TART CHERRY CRISP
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 C packed brown sugar
- 1 C all-purpose flour
- ½ C butter
- 1 C sugar
- ¼ C cornstarch
- 1 C tart cherry juice
- 4 C pitted dark tart cherries
- ½ t almond extract
- 1 ½ C quick-cooking rolled oats
- ½ C packed brown sugar
- ¼ C all-purpose flour
- 5 T butter, melted
For the filling: Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan. Stir in juice. Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Fold in cherries and almond extract. Pour over baked crust.
For the topping: Combine all topping ingredients; sprinkle over filling. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly around edges.
About the Author – Lisa Adams
Lisa is originally from Joplin, Missouri, in the Midwestern United States, but New York has been her home for the past 19 years. She works as a personal chef and a voice over actress and is inspired by the balance of creativity and service.
For more culinary inspiration from New York, follow Lisa on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and visit her website AllGoodThings.nyc.