Photo of Cherry from harvest day. WildCraft Cider Works

Harvest is about hustle. It’s about sweat. It’s sticky. It’s juicy. It’s sweet. It’s also a hell of a lot of fun. But more than anything, the true beauty of the harvest in the interconnectedness.

The day starts before dawn as we load up the trucks, guzzle down our coffee, and head out to the orchard. Walking between the rows of trees it is peaceful and quite. The air is thick with the smell of sweet grass and dew as the sun starts to peer through the overcast sky. Before long it will be hot, and we will be thankful for the shade provided by the trees.

Cherry tree prior to harvest. WildCraft Cider Works Hard Cherry Cider

There is a natural rhythm that builds as the day goes on. Handfuls of cherries become boxes, become bins, and it’s an informal race to beat the next load or the next person in the line. The same energy that was generated by the buzz of the bees amongst the blossoms is transferred to the cherries and to our now very sticky, wine-stained hands.

Hands stained with cherry juice from a long day of harvesting. WildCraft Cider Works hard cherry cider.

As the crates start to stack up we are reminded that this is bigger than any one of us. That it is about the greater experience. A butterfly effect that began with a seed: the now 50-year-old cherry trees that continue to produce, and the generations of caretakers who maintained them. The children who stood eagerly below as they tasted their first cherry right from the tree. The labor and sweat of the crew that harvested the fruit. The chemistry that occurs between the natural sugars and yeasts that go into a barrel of cider, each one its own ecosystem. All of that life gets passed on to us as we take our first sips. We are undeniably connected to one another, to our product, and to the story it carries forward.

Sean Kelly of WildCraft Cider Works sorts cherries with the help of the kids

Become part of the story by trying out u-pick and getting sticky. Click here for the Willamette Farm and Food Coalition guide to farms with u-picks in Lane County.

Full bins of delicious cherries for WildCraft Cider Works.

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