A Cherry on Top
High times in High Rolls
By Maren Tarro
For budget-minded travelers, especially during a recession, vacations to far-off destinations are out of the question. But that doesn't mean you have to spend the summer next to a kiddie pool in the baking confines of your backyard.
Three-and-a-half hours from Albuquerque, surrounded by the Lincoln National Forest, is the teensy town of High Rolls. High in the Sacramento Mountains, the village boasts little more than a general store and a post office—at least to those who blinked while driving through. A closer look reveals numerous orchards lining the winding mountain roads. And this little town loves to celebrate the fruit of its orchards’ labor.
Each June the local Lion's Club chapter puts on a cherry jubilee and invites everyone to join in the festivities. This year’s gathering will take place on Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21. Vendors will sell their wares, including a heavy dose of cherry treats such as pie and cider.
Beyond the festival grounds, visitors can stop by several cherry orchards for a little cherry-picking. Most orchards provide buckets and ladders and charge by the pound. (There are no reports of orchards charging visitors for what they eat while picking.)
But what to do with all those cherries? Pies, cobblers and cakes are all fine and dandy, but those dishes are child's play compared to Amaretto cherries. This simple recipe can be prepared by even the drunkest chef and added to almost any dessert.
Drunken Amaretto Cherries
Makes 1/2 pound
1/2 pound fresh cherries
Glass jar with tight-fitting lid
1) Remove stems from cherries and wash thoroughly. Pat dry. I don't bother pitting them, but they can be pitted if you like. 2) Fill jar with cherries and cover with Amaretto. Refrigerate and soak at least 24 hours—the longer the cherries soak, the stronger they will be.3) Drain—the Amaretto can be reserved for use in cocktails—and serve cherries on their own or as a topping for ice cream and other desserts.
High Rolls 44th annual Cherry Festival is held in High Rolls, N.M., at the community center at 56 Cottage Row (east of the U.S. 82 tunnel, follow the signs and traffic control personnel), June 20 and 21, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. No pets, please.
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