We were in Washington state a few years ago and passed a roadside stand that was selling cherries. Delise said lets stop and get some. I said I don't like cherries... She asked if I had ever eaten cherries? I said yes. She said, no, not the plastic tasting ones in the jar with all the juice. A real cherry fresh from a tree.. I thought, how different could they be? If you have never had one - well you should. It is hard to explain how good they really are. You can buy them at the grocery store every now and then but the best ones are picked right off the tree, and you can meet some really interesting people too.
As we were driving through northeastern Pennsylvania we started seeing a lot of vineyards. We had no idea that they grew grapes here or produced wine. The further we went the more fields of grapes we saw. We decided to take a backroad to get a closer look and to our surprise Paul saw a sign for "pick your own cherries". After making a quick u-turn we were headed down a little side road through a field of grape vines. We soon pulled up to Rahal Farms. It is a beautiful farm with a lot of different fruit trees that we did not expect to find in this part of the country. Not only did they have cherry trees. To our surprise they had peach trees as well as 20 other fruit and nut trees.. It is a little to early in their season for peaches and besides we have no trouble finding peaches at home!
We were greeted by the owner (Wajeeh Rahal) and his daughter who was helping for the summer. They are very friendly with an interesting story. Mr. Rahal quickly pulled out a picture to show Paula of himself from from the 1950's when he was Mr. Lebanon back in his home country. He came to America to attend college and loved it so much he decided to live here. He started telling us about the farm and how he began growing so many unusual things in this area. He said he will try anything and if it survives he will sell it! The strategy has worked well for him.
The Cherry trees look a lot like peach trees but grow much larger.
Delise was thrilled when Mr. Rahal asked her if she liked Mulberries. He could tell from her smile that the answer was yes. They are one of her favorite childhood memories. He pointed to the tree just outside the barn door. She ate several and even shared some with the chickens. With all of the fruit trees around the farm, I bet those chickens lay some sweet eggs! After a good visit at the barn we headed back to the car in search of our next adventure.
If you are ever traveling through Pennsylvania up near Lake Erie you should stop in at Rahal Farms. From the variety of things grown there I bet they always have something to munch on during the summer and fall and you will definitely enjoy the visit! Where else can you get cherries for $1.50 a pound?
Did you know they have lighthouses on lake Erie? Can't wait to tell you about them...