Monday, March 4, 2024

The Cost of Cherries


Our oldest, Kat, brought me 10 lb. of cherries. She asked me if I wanted some tart cherries before she went to pick them; I asked how much do they cost; she said the farmer wanted a dollar a pound. I told her I’d give her two dollars a pound and she could pay for ten pounds of her own cherries for the labor of picking mine.

Grandma taught me Grandpa’s basic rule of thumb when paying for someone’s time. It is to consider the cost of the raw material then give equal dollars for the labor it takes to make the material into a product. So, if the cherries (the raw material) cost $1 per pound then I owe her $1 for her labor to share in the abundance of cherries she’s willing to pick for to me.

When she got back, she asked if I wanted my money back. It didn’t compute, but who says no to getting money back? I said, “yes, of course.” Then I asked her why she was offering to give me back my money, thinking maybe the cherries were no good.

Come to find out the farmer made her a deal to trade his cherries for her chicken eggs. She didn’t have to pay in money, so she offered me mine back.

I thought about it. The deal I made with her was for $20 dollars for ten pounds of cherries and $10 of it for her labor. She did the labor. She was the one the farmer decided to trade cherries for eggs with, not me. I don’t have eggs to trade. It was her windfall, not mine. The appropriate thing to do was leave the $20 in her hands so I told her to keep the twenty bucks then explained my logic. “Kat,” I said, “Don’t offer to give someone their money back when you run into a windfall like this. People automatically say yes to getting money back. If you get a good deal by trading eggs, I didn’t need to know about it. The farmer offered YOU the deal. I don’t have eggs to trade; you do.  When starting out one way then getting an honest windfall, keep the particulars to yourself. But Kat?” I said, “It is NOT ok to trick people into paying double so you can go for free. It always gets found out and you lose friends.”

I pitted the cherries and Grandma mixed sugar with them to be frozen in bags of three cups each for winter cherry pies for Grandpa. All except the last cup and a half of cherries.

Cherry Cobbler

(Any fresh fruit will work)


1 1/2 cups fresh fruit              ½ cup juice or water               Dash of salt    

½ cup sugar                            1 Tablespoon corn starch

Pit cherries being careful to collect all the juice possible. Measure the cherries aside in a bowl leaving the juice behind in the bowl. Measure the left-behind juice. If there is less than ½ cup of juice add enough cold water to the measuring up to make it ½ cup. In a saucepan mix the sugar, salt and corn starch very well so that the corn starch is well incorporated or there will be lumps later. Pour the juice into the saucepan with the dry ingredients (sugar, salt, corn starch) and mix all together into a slurry. Over medium heat bring the slurry to a simmer until it has thickened. Add the cup and a half cherries. Mix in cherries then take off the heat. Pour into a bread loaf pan and set aside while making cobbler biscuits.

Cobbler biscuits

 ½ cup flour                                         ¼ Teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon sugar                             1 ½ Tablespoon oil

2 Teaspoons baking powder               3 to 4 Tablespoons water, juice, or milk

Mix dry ingredients together then add wet ingredients. Stir until just moistened and the batter is the right consistency for drop biscuits. Drop by spoonful across the top of the cherries in the bread loaf pan. Bake at 400℉ for 25-30 minutes.

Note: If using other fruits types. spice and herbs can be added to the filling, cinnamon with apples, clove with plums, ginger with peaches. This recipe is easy to double for a larger family or a potluck gathering. PS: The money amount in this article was selected for ease of calculation.  

In 2000 Michele Priddy left the work force to become a stay-at-home mother and wife. Being a one-income family in today’s society meant she had to learn to budget quickly. Food became a priority early because she wanted the children to have the best nutrition, she could offer them even on a budget. She also taught cooking classes on how to stretch the food dollar with simple ingredients at various churches in her community. Michelle has put her kitchen strategies and recipes in booklets, her church newsletter and also in her hometown newspaper, The Goldendale Sentinel. We hope you will enjoy her strategies, stories, and recipes. You can contact the Leavenworth Echo at or 509-548-5286 if you have any questions or comments for Michelle.



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