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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
“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!
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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