Shortly after moving back to the central Kansas Sandhills, my dad and I discovered a Black Cherry tree in the woods near our house. At first we thought it was probably the only one but we then quickly discovered there were not only dozens of trees, but hundreds spread across a few acres. We found trees that were just a few weeks old to trees that were easily 20-30 years old, ranging from a few inches tall to 50+ feet.

Being the black cherry is native to the eastern third of Kansas and we’re squarely in the middle of the state, finding black cherries was definitely a surprise, though a welcomed one! The fruit they produce is excellent for jellies and the wood is highly valuable for wood working and fuel.

In the last two years I’ve found a few berries on the trees but not more than enough to nibble on. Even when a tree produces decent quantities of fruit, the birds tend to eat them quickly.

This evening while walking in the woods I stumbled on a tree that was baring a huge amount of fruit in perfect condition for picking.

We’ll make black cherry jelly for the first time this year!