The Best Cherry Pie Ever

Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is? ~ Frank Scully, author

Great food, wine and culinary experiences bring people together.  So does the love of our pets.  Just a few conversations by phone, email or Facebook and all of a sudden you have a real connection with another person and go out on a limb of sorts…you send a box of cherries to someone you have never met before.

Fresh food gifts from new friends.  Is there anything better?  Especially when the gift is a box of perfectly ripe and gorgeous red cherries from a farm in Montana.

Fresh cherries from Getman’s Cherry Red Orchards on Flathead Lake in Bigfork, Montana

Montana.  The state that has recently been called, “The Last Great Place” may be just that and we hope to travel there soon.  In the meantime, while daydreaming about the wide open spaces, breathtaking mountains and big blue sky of Montana, I am also reminiscing about those fabulous black, sweet and juicy cherries that were sent to us several weeks ago.  Cherries that filled the mouth with luscious fruit.  They were the best cherries we have ever eaten.

What to do with a bowl of gorgeous cherries??

I met Sheryl Getman earlier this year when Beamer, our Tibetan Terrier (TT), was paralyzed from a rabies vaccine.  We were introduced through a mutual friend and TT breeder as I was searching for answers on how to treat Beamer’s paralysis, since very few veterinarians know much about this condition.  Sheryl currently has six TT’s and has been a breeder off and on during the 20 years of being involved with the breed.

* One of the Getman’s Tibetan Terriers

Tibetan Terriers are unique, mysterious and are known as “little people” because of their behaviors.  There is something very special that binds their owners.  It is hard to put in to words other than to say that TT owners receive great joy being a part of the lives of the “little people” and being a part of the Tibetan Terrier community.  Beamer has been with us for almost almost eleven years and I can tell you that we are spellbound by his personality and unexpected characteristics.

* The Getman’s Tibetan Terriers enjoy helping out in the orchard

I have to thank Sheryl and a few other TT owners for their encouragement and support when we thought we would lose Beamer.  It was a very emotional and trying time for us.  Sheryl and I have become online friends through Beamer’s challenges and have connected over another love, cooking.

* Some of the produce from Sheryl and Dan’s farm

Sheryl has been around fresh food and farming all of her life.  She grew up in Montana in a home where her parents and grandparents raised or hunted much of their own food, fueling her passion for great food at an early age.  Sheryl’s grandmother was a gourmet cook at a hotel.  Her mother was also an excellent cook and baker so there were never any packaged or processed foods in her home.  Everything was prepared from scratch.  Sheryl honed her skills at home in the kitchen when she was young.  Combining her love of art (another passion) with her culinary skills, she entered the restaurant business after college.

* Grape vines and pears at Getman’s farm

Throughout her life, Sheryl’s obsession with cooking and art has inspired her travels to faraway places like the Chinese Provinces, the Philippines, and France and then to New York and San Francisco to expand her culinary ability and experience.  In the late 1960‘s she studied cooking at several Chinese restaurants in San Francisco and with wives of Asian doctors.  There she learned their recipes and how to incorporate good food for health.

* Garlic scapes

Following her travels, Sheryl returned to Montana where she started her own restaurant.  She met her husband, Dan, at her restaurant in Kalispell, Montana in 1985 and “went for an adventure in Los Angeles.”  This adventure lasted 17 years.  During this time, Sheryl changed careers and worked as a set designer and illustrator, using her art skills, for a major corporation in Los Angeles.  She satisfied her love for cooking through parties with friends and neighbors while in Los Angeles and maintained a large garden of fruits and vegetables.  However, pollution was a problem, in particular, the lack of good water and clean air.  As Sheryl describes it, the water from the tap was not potable.  The air not clean.  She and her husband became anxious to take another life adventure in search of “good, healthy, lovely water, and clean air.”

Sheryl and Dan Getman returned to Montana in 2006 where they purchased two farms on Flathead Lake in Bigfork.  One farm is their orchard, Getman’s Cherry Red Orchards, and another is planted with organic vegetables.  Sheryl has returned to her roots.

* I can see why they chose to live here

The couple work together without any staff, except at harvest time.  They are committed to raising the best fruit that “good water can provide.”  They incorporate “new methods and very current science” in their farming practices and use and adhere to natural processes.  Sheryl says, “Our orchard cherries are grown as a ‘total environment crop’ and not just ‘by the tree’.   We work closely with the new thinkers at the Department of Agriculture.”

For the Getman’s, this is a lifestyle and you can sense the passion in what they do.  “We are committed to good food, great art, and beauty in life.  We have remained inspired, moving through life with our seasons.”

* Apricots and plums

“Our harvest is near 30,000 pounds of cherries.  We like to serve people with personally shipped boxes from the orchard.  We have a line of preserves, many unique flavors and recipes.  There is always a new plant to try and a new task to accomplish.  We are finding that we can grow a better fruit.  It is our quest.”

I am convinced they have found the secret to the cherries.  They were fabulous.  They also grow and harvest peaches, plums, apricots, pears, apples, and other seasonal produce.  Some of their products are available for sale and others you can pick yourself at their farm.

The cherries were superb in this pie

“We chose a better life and not just to accept or settle,” Sheryl told me.  Isn’t that what we all should strive for?  We have an invitation to visit Montana once their new house, that they are currently building, is finished.  We look forward to seeing this beautiful part of our country that she says looks much like Switzerland (I would have to agree based on one of her photographs).  Maybe it is “The Last Great Place” and you never know where we just might end up one day.  I see a farm in my future and maybe a ride off into the sunset.  Giddyup!

* Sunset from the orchard

We want to thank Sheryl for shipping these gorgeous cherries to us.  Cherries this good needed to be the star of any recipe.  I chose to make a Cherry Pie with a Lattice Crust and it truly was the best cherry pie I have ever made!  The crust was flaky and buttery and was the perfect way to showcase the cherries.  These cherries were much larger than the ones I can find locally and were incredibly sweet and juicy.

Dot the pie with butter before baking

A scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to this gorgeous pie that is bursting with fruit and succulent cherry juices.  I pitted and froze the extra cherries, not to miss using one of them.  I am looking forward to incorporating them in a few desserts and savory dishes as we move in to Fall.

Lattice Cherry Pie

If you would like to order fruit directly from Getman’s, this is the link to their site.

If you are interested in Beamer’s current condition, this is the most recent update.

Beamer’s friend Suddie writes a blog (well, sort of…Vance).  Suddie’s sister Mary is one of the Getman’s Tibetan Terriers.  Suddie published this very cute post on her blog along with a video of the dogs romping at Getman’s Cherry Red Orchards a few years ago.  As the song says, it truly is a slice of heaven in Montana.

* Photographs are courtesy of Sheryl and Dan Getman

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Classic Cherry Pie with Lattice Crust

Yield: 1 9-inch pie

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes


For crust:
2 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
5 tablespoons (or more) ice water

For filling:
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 cups whole pitted dark sweet cherries (about 2 pounds whole unpitted cherries) * I used another cup since the cherries were so large.
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon (about) milk

Vanilla ice cream, for serving


For crust:
1. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl to blend. Add butter and rub in with fingertips until small pea-size clumps form. Add 5 tablespoons ice water; mix lightly with fork until dough holds together when small pieces are pressed between fingertips, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.

2. Gather dough together; divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into ball, then flatten into disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Do ahead Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled. Let dough soften slightly before rolling out.

For filling:
1. Position rack in lower third of oven and preheat to 425°F. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. Stir in cherries, lemon juice, and vanilla; set aside.

2. Roll out 1 dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch glass pie dish. Trim dough overhang to 1/2 inch. Roll out second dough disk on floured surface to 12-inch round. Using large knife or pastry wheel with fluted edge, cut ten 3/4-inch-wide strips from dough round. Transfer filling to dough-lined dish, mounding slightly in center. Dot with butter. Arrange dough strips atop filling, forming lattice; trim dough strip overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold bottom crust up over ends of strips and crimp edges to seal. Brush lattice crust (not edges) with milk. Sprinkle lattice with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

3. Place pie on rimmed baking sheet and bake 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F. Bake pie until filling is bubbling and crust is golden brown, covering edges with foil collar if browning too quickly, about 1 hour longer. Transfer pie to rack and cool completely. Cut into wedges and serve with vanilla ice cream

Adapted from Bon Appétit, June 2008




21 Responses to “The Best Cherry Pie Ever”

  1. 1

    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — September 14, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    This pie is beautiful! Love this idea!

  2. 2

    Jamie — September 14, 2012 @ 12:27 pm

    Gorgeous gorgeous pie! Stunning! And now I am sad that cherries season is over here – but I’ll come back to this recipe next year for sure! The farm and that landscape are beautiful – and they are living a life my husband dreams of. It takes courage as well as passion and kudos to them for doing it. And the dogs on the back of the cart are wonderful!

    • Gwen replied: — September 14th, 2012 @ 2:13 pm

      Hi Jamie,

      Thank you. This does look like a perfect way to live life. They work hard and enjoy the fruits of their labors. Literally.

      I can’t imagine the fun their Tibetan Terriers must have running around the orchard and farm. They are really intriguing dogs.


  3. 3

    Adriana @FoodCocktail — September 14, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

    Your pie looks so good, but I don’t think that I can find cherries anymore…But still, I’m in the mood for a pie or tart of some kind, so I must find myself a fruit and bake it. Too bad that I dropped my kitchen scale earlier today, and until I get a new one next week, I have a few recipes I’ll have to postpone..

    • Gwen replied: — September 14th, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

      Hi Adriana,

      Sorry to hear about your kitchen scale. That could be a problem is you measure all of your ingredients.

      I am not sure where you live, but I have seen fresh cherries in our markets in Atlanta over the past week. I hope you are able to make this pie or apple pie is always a great choice come fall.


  4. 4

    Cindy Douglass — September 14, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

    I also ordered Sheryl’s cherries and I agree that these were the best cherries I have ever had! I will be ordering a larger amount next year as I didn’t get as many in the freezer as I had planned. After a baking a large cobbler, I must admit we were eating them as is as a mid-afternoon treat as well as a quick dessert.

    • Gwen replied: — September 14th, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

      Hi Cindy,

      I know. They were fabulous and Mr. B wanted to snack on them. I had to hurry up and get them pitted and frozen so I could enjoy them later in a few desserts or dishes. I know where to get my stash of cherries next year…Montana!


  5. 5

    Sheryl Getman — September 14, 2012 @ 2:03 pm

    Thank you for the lovely article. We are inspired and dedicated. Most of your readers know, there is great pleasure in sharing. We truly love to share the results of our work and study. With clean water, good soil and clean air, we can bring fine and better foods, to the market place, for all to enjoy. It can make life so much more delightful. Happiness comes from enjoying the lovely moments in life. The table is often the place where we all can meet and share; making those wonderful moments happen. Gwen, your work is always beautiful, informative, and inspiring.

  6. 6

    Gwen — September 14, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

    Hi Sheryl,

    You are most welcome and thank you for your thoughtful comments. I agree, it makes life better when we can share what we have learned through our hard work and efforts, especially when it is in the form of great food that is better for you.

    We admire what you and Dan do and hope to meet you and the TT’s in Montana some day. We can enjoy some great food, wine, and friendship together.



  7. 7

    Sharla Bailey — September 14, 2012 @ 3:00 pm

    Sheryl is my eldest sister and most like our mother when it comes to the kitchen. (although my other 2 sisters are pretty good cooks too). Sheryl whips up delicious meals, treats, desserts so effortlessly while chatting about other events. It’s almost like…background music, and I am always amazed that she can do this so effortlessly and so gracefully. It’s almost like watching a dance. When I visit, (I live in Oregon) she always bakes me a pie (or 2 or 3) that she whips up in a heartbeat…stating she didn’t know if I wanted cherry, peach or apple. She and Dan work from sun-up until …well, lets just say it’s very “normal” for them to have dinner at 10 pm, when Dan comes in from working in the orchard or on the new house, while Sheryl works on her art, garden, putting up preserves or a million other things that she does during the day. They don’t seem tired…why is that? Because it’s not work to them…they love what they do and don’t want to stop. Their TT’s are right along beside them day in and night out. They are amazing folks and great parents to their “little people” TT’s. I can attest to them having the best cherries I’ve ever come across. Yummy…my mouth waters thinking about them!

    • Gwen replied: — September 18th, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

      Hi Sharla,

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment. Sheryl does sound like the ultimate multitasker. I could not deal with the six TT’s, let alone a farm and all the preserving, cooking, and other activities.

      I knew when we spoke some time ago that she was talented in the kitchen, but learning how she and Dan manage the farm themselves was shocking. It is quite an undertaking, but obvious that they love what they do and that is what is most important. Sharing with others at the end of the day is even better and we certainly appreciate Sheryl sharing some of their amazing cherries and their story.


  8. 8

    Maria P — September 14, 2012 @ 5:55 pm

    The Getman farm looks idyllic to say the least. That picture of the plums is unbelievable! And I don’t know about that cherry pie – it is PERFECT, like a fairy tale pie. Is it even possible? My taste buds are going mad and my eyes won’t let me believe what it is seeing. A great post Gwen!

    • Gwen replied: — September 18th, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

      Thank you, Maria. The pie really did turn out beautifully. It was due in part to those lovely cherries. I wish we could find some like those in Georgia!


  9. 9

    Lisa — September 15, 2012 @ 12:54 am

    Holy crap, Gwen – that is one gorgeous cherry pie! Let me tell claim not to be a baker, but you’ve got the gift! That said..I love the photos of the farm. It”s always been a dream of mine to own a farm (our second house when we’re rich lol). Don’t laugh..but I’ve been looking at chicken coops only..SO FAR. Beautiful post and pie!

    • Gwen replied: — September 18th, 2012 @ 6:04 pm

      Hi Lisa,

      We want a chicken coop and a farm, too, so no laughing here. It is our dream to move out of the city and own a small farm one day with chickens and a few animals. Looking at the photos of Montana, I could sign up for going there!

      BTW, I do love to bake, so thank you for the comment about the pie. I just don’t do it often since it’s just the two of us and we don’t need the sweets. I have a few slices of leftover Cherry Pie in the freezer right now. It was hard not to eat the whole thing!


  10. 10

    Lora ~ cakeduchess — September 15, 2012 @ 11:26 am

    Those are the most gorgeous cherries I’ve every seen. Your pie is dreamy. I love cherry pie and could eat it for lunch now. Love this article and photos of the beautiful farm. I’m giggling thinking of Lisa looking at chicken coops!!!:)

    • Gwen replied: — September 18th, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

      Hi Lora,

      Thank you and quit giggling about the chicken coop. I want one, too. Think how much fun it would be to use your own freshly hatched eggs in all those baked goods! 😉


  11. 11

    Julia — September 16, 2012 @ 1:50 am

    This is so good! I bet it will be great with sour cherries, too.

  12. 12

    Laura Dembowski — September 19, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    What a sad story about your dog. I hope he is doing better. I love cherries and love ordering fruit from the best farms across the country. I am so excited to check out their site. I love cherry pie too, and this looks wonderful!

  13. 13

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