I love having our own fruit trees, even if we only have a few and they don't produce but one little crop each. We once had three apple trees but the ice storm of 2007 took us down to one. But we still have two cherry trees and two pear trees. The cherries were harvested today by my two young cousins, a teenage friend of the family, my dad and I. It was a treat and especially fun to teach the younguns a little about the natural life cycle of the trees themselves. We picked every cherry that had even a hint of pink. But we left plenty for the birds and our local squirrel if he so chooses.
According to Culpeper's Complete Herbal: It is a tree of Venus. Cherries, as they are of different tastes, so they are of different qualities. The sweet pass through the stomach and the belly more speedily, but are of little nourishment; the tart or sour are more pleasing to an hot stomach, procure appetite to meat, to help and cut tough phlegm, and gross humours; but when these are dried, they are more binding to the belly than when they are fresh, being cooling in hot diseases, and welcome to the stomach, and provokes urine. The gum of the Cherry-tree, desolved in wine is good for a cold, cough, and hoarseness of the throat; mends the colour in the face, sharpens the eyesight, provokes appetite, and helps to break and expel the stone, and dissolved, the water thereof is much used to break the stone, and to expel gravel and wind.
There's something incredibly satisfying and wondrous about harvesting the bounty of the Earth Mother. Her blessings are many: there's not just the nourishment and medicine of the cherries themselves but the pure joy of partaking of Her bounty. While I've always gardened and enjoyed the fresh produce I can't help but wonder what it's like to make one's living from the Earth. It must be frightening on the one hand should the weather not cooperate. But it must be a truly beautiful connection to the Earth when things go well. And while our personal bounty wasn't that impressive in size I cherish and appreciate it all the same. Praise be to the Earth Mother and all Her children.