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  1. Cherries and July 4th!

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    Single Cherry on Branch

    It’s that time of year again…as the July 4th holiday arrives, so do the cherries (at least in PA).

    One of our best summer days EVER was a day trip to Erie County.  It started in the morning at Mobilia Fruit Farm (and winery!) picking our own cherries under a crystal clear blue sky.  Afterward, with our bounty of cherries loaded in the cooler we headed to the beaches of Presque Isle for a day of soaking up the sun, kite flying and body surfing the waves of Lake Erie.  This particular day started something we now strive to repeat every year in late June/early July when the cherries are in season.

    The entire northern edge of Erie County borders Lake Erie and is a bountiful region of fertile farmland with a unique growing climate tempered by the lake waters.  Well-known for its vineyards, the area also boasted a number of successful cherry producing farms in the early to mid 20th century, from which emerged a thriving fruit packing industry.  Today’s farms that offer pick-your-own cherries honor this industry’s heritage, many growing both sweet and sour varieties.  Mobilia Fruit Farm that we visited not only offers fresh, pick-your-own cherries, they also pit and freeze their sour cherries, beautifully preserving them for cherry pies and other tasty treats year-round.

    Less than a 2-hour drive from Pittsburgh, the Lake Erie region of the Keystone state is a perfect day-trip, whether you’re headed to the beaches, to one (or more) of the many farms to pick your own summer treats … or both!

    Those freshly picked cherries were a refreshing snack that sunny summer day on the beach…and they were equally delicious in a number of dishes we created back home, including this version of summer’s favorite dessert – ice cream!  Can’t wait to get back there this year!!

    Frozen Custard with Sour Cherries

    Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

    I love that the sour cherries are a tart surprise hidden in this sweet creamy frozen custard. Feel free to substitute sweet cherries (or any summer fruit) if that’s your heart’s desire!


    • 4 eggs, beaten
    • 3/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 cups skim milk
    • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out (or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract)
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups heavy cream
    • 2 cups pitted sour cherries, halved (frozen work well!)


    In medium saucepan, whisk together eggs, ¾ cup sugar, milk, vanilla seeds and salt. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat a metal spoon. Cool and then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 1 hour. When cool, strain through a fine mesh sieve if desired to remove any lumps (this is an optional step), cover and keep refrigerated until ready to freeze.

    While the custard mixture cools, place halved cherries in a bowl and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar. Stir and let sit until sugar has dissolved and cherries begin to release juice. Set aside until ready to use.

    When ready to freeze, stir heavy cream into the chilled custard mixture. Pour the combined mixture into your ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions. When the freezing process is complete and the ice cream is still soft, stir in the cherries and accumulated juice. Transfer to freezer-safe containers, cover and freeze about 2 hours until firm.

    For more cherry treats from past visits, see our other posts HERE.

    ….and HAPPY July 4th!!

  2. U-Pick! Cherries & Blueberries for the 4th

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    u-pick blueberries

    To thoroughly enjoy the freshest fruit (and vegetables, for that matter) of the season, head to a U-Pick farm where you can pick your own in any quantity.  It’s a Local Goodness experience you shouldn’t miss and the Fourth of July holiday is prime time for these two summer treats…cherries and blueberries.

    On today’s Pittsburgh Today Live, we cook up a classic French dessert, Blueberry-Cherry Clafoutis, using sweet cherries and blueberries at their peak.  Try this dish with upcoming raspberries, blackberries and any stone fruit later this summer (peaches, plums, etc.).  Served warm or cold, it’s a delicious dessert or breakfast dish.

    When going to a U-Pick farm, here are some important tips:

    1. Call ahead to make sure the items you want to pick are ready for harvest (and they still have crops left for picking) and to check their hours and payment policies (some only accept cash).

    2. Wear comfy clothes and shoes that are appropriate for the weather.

    3. Bring a cooler to keep your items cool on the way home.

    4. This is a great outing for the whole family…nothing gets kids (and other picky eaters) wanting to munch on fresh fruits and veggies than spending time on a farm picking their own stash of healthy goodies.

    5. Make a day of it.

    6. Find out other things to do in the area, for example: if you’re going to pick cherries up in North East, PA, make plans to spend the rest of the day on the beaches of Presque Isle.


    To find U-Pick farms, click here.

  3. Mobilia Fruit Farm – Cherries




    Cherry Recipe:  Cherry-Almond-Ricotta Strudel

    Mobilia Fruit Farm is a fourth generation family farm run by Nick and Kathy Mobilia. Located in North East, Pennsylvania, just miles from Lake Erie, a visit to Mobilia Fruit Farm is a great start to a day trip or weekend visit to this area. It was just days away from the height of cherry season when we visited the cherry orchard and snatched a few juicy treats from the loaded cherry trees. Kathy was our host in the orchard as Nick tended to a bus load of visitors from Pittsburgh who made a stop at their winery to sample (and buy) some of their award-winning wines. While their wines are a visitor favorite year-round, for us and many families who have been coming for generations, we came for the fresh cherries just coming into season. Mobilia offers you the chance to go in the orchard to pick your own – whether sweet dark or Queen Anne cherries, or sour cherries, perfect for baking. Try what we did…pack a picnic lunch, load up the car, take the drive to North East and visit the Mobilia’s. After picking your cherries head to the beach at Presque Isle and make a day of it with the whole family.

    Mobilia cherries (and other products) are available at their farm store in North East, PA. In the Pittsburgh area, they can be found at Soergel Orchards in Wexford, PA and Trax Farm Market in Finleyville, PA.

    12073 East Main Road
    North East, PA 16428

    also visit them at Arrowhead Wine Cellars:

    Contact Person: Kathy Mobilia
    Phone: (814) 725-4077