Monday, June 30, 2014
a favorite summer tradition
a couple weeks ago, we got our first delivery of cherries for our perennial june flavor, cherry chunk ice cream (and this year, vegan cherry chunk!). and so, we did what we always do around here -- we had a pitting party. the molly moon's pitting party has been a favorite summer tradition of mine for six years now. so i was so excited this year, when our friend james moes said he could come with his family, join in on the pitting fun, and capture a few photos of the way we get cherry season started.
our first pitting party wasn't really a party -- but an act of desperation. one morning in june 2008, i was making ice cream in the kitchen in the wallingford shop, and a sweet, sun-kissed looking girl knocked on our door and asked me if i wanted to buy 100 pounds of cherries that she was trying to sell. they'd been picked that weekend on the grounds of Pacific Crest Farm and she didn't have a buyer because the trees had been more bountiful than she expected. i bought the cherries (obviously! how could i not?!) and scurried to find friends willing to help me pit all of them. i bought a few pitters at mrs. cook's in u village, and pitted most of them on my friend, Caroline's deck, eating popsicles with her kids and drinking mojitos in the sunshine. we rolled the fresh cherries into plain ice cream base, splashed in just a tiny amount of vanilla, and then added chunks of chocolate. the outcome was the best-selling seasonal flavor of my first summer in business, and we've kept cherry chunk on the june menu ever since.
fast forward six years and six ice cream shops, and the pitting party has nestled into a beloved place in my heart. we outgrew Pacific Crest's supply years ago, and moved on to buy beautiful Bing cherries from Dave Alberg at Alberg Orchards in the Columbia Valley. Dave picks most of the cherries himself, and we start the laborious task of pitting each cherry with a party every summer.
for the last several years, we've rented the back patio at Oddfellows Cafe, around the corner from our Capitol Hill shop, and i invite molly moon's staff (or moon crew, as we affectionately call ourselves) and friends alike. we order a round of rosé (or as my friend, Colu, calls it, summer water!), a few cheese boards and nibbles, and get to pitting.
some of us take it rather seriously.
this year brought a little bit of a new vibe to the whole thing because there were so many kids there. for four years or so, the pitting party was about drinking a bunch and being loud and funny while we kind-of got some pitting done. because, for the most part, everyone at molly moon's has been single and child-free since we opened. it was a little bit of a trip for me to realize that because i had a baby last year, now the people i was inviting to things have kids, and this whole event became kind of a kid-stravaganza. when i started molly moon's, i wanted to give Seattle more opportunities to gather in a multi-generational way, since that was something i was really missing when i moved here in 2001. i hope the moon crew doesn't mind the change of tone, and it was so sweet to see my little girl, February (the one in the stripes & pony tail), and her pint-sized friends learning and watching with my mostly twenty-something crew.
overall, it was a really sweet evening. thanks to all the crew & friends who came.
if you're in the mood to have a pitting party yourself, i highly recommend it! all you really need is a space that won't be bothered by a little cherry juice splatter, a bunch of cherries, and a few pitters. it reminds me of husking corn or shucking peas or any of those things you do with a group to get the job done and have fun while you pass the time. have you ever had a party or a gathering to get a job like this done? would you? and what do you think about cherry chunk, by the way?
♥ molly moon
posted by molly moon