This is one of my absolute favourite family traditions. We’ve been driving up to Klondyke ever since I was a wee one, and it’s become a staunch part of the lead up to Christmas. This cherry farm is my dad’s happy place as there’s nothing he loves more than picking fresh fruit. We tend to disappoint him as we simply can’t match his picking stamina nor enthusiasm, but I think we faired quite well this year – I’m certain I detected a twinkle of approval in his eye when he surveyed the 12 kilograms of cherries we collected.
The farm is situated out in the mountains and the scenery is absolutely beautiful. It has that harsh sparseness that speaks to the soul, echoed in the vast blue of the sky. The enormity of our looming water crisis was made clear by the dryness of the patchy, scratchy yellow fields – a stark contrast to the healthy green of the cherry trees, their drooping branches weighed down with fruit. There is nothing quite so pretty as a cherry tree; especially one dotted with shiny mauve baubles. This year boasted a particularly abundant crop – it’s been a number of years since we’ve seen so many cherries in the orchards.
Ceres is a bit of a drive away from Cape Town, but it’s worth making the mission for the beauty of the region and the joy of picking one’s own punnets of sweet, juicy fruit. The hard part is then de-pipping 12 kg of fruit and preserving these in red wine and bottling them, but that’s a blog post for another time, when my fingers are less stained with juice and my eyes are less heavy from our 5am start to beat the picking competition. If you do decide to go, go soon as the season is almost over and the trees are at their best at the moment.