Those who know me well know I find it hard to drive past a good orchard.
Somehow, it just seems wrong not to stop, head in and savour the beautiful fruit that has just been picked. So much the better if I can take enough home to simultaneously gorge ourselves while preserving the rest within an inch of it's life - laden into jars so I can squirrel it away for another culinary day.
There are few more satisfying things to this cook than a pantry well-stocked with glistening jars of jewel-hued fruit.
Like the preserving, being able to pick the fruit yourself is at risk of being a dying pleasure, and it was all I could do not to shove the kids out the way so I could get into the pick-your-own cherry orchard before them. We spent a very happy hour filling our buckets - and our stomachs - with all the cherries we could wish for. Spot the cherry lips and the stained hands: the cherries were so juicy and ripe they were literally exploding with juice. A very beautiful Christmas-time Marlborough treat!