My Cherry on Top

Ronald James Anderson
My Father,
My Friend,
He was my confidant,
The person I could trust to listen and tenderly care.  
His life was full, he was deeply grateful for his wife,
Each of his children and the grandchildren that followed.  
He lead our family in prayer and thanksgiving.  
His love for God and integrity blessed those around him. 
He taught me how to work,
Create and live beyond what I thought was possible. 
He held my hand and wiped my tears.
He left a legacy of love that I will pass on. 
Never Forgotten,
My Dearest Dad, 
Ronald James Anderson

 Photo courtesy of: Thomas Booth
Photo courtesy of: Thomas Booth

Well – my father was my first love, he taught me how to dance through life regardless of circumstances. At a young age he encouraged me to be determined and energetic; willing to work hard and keep my heart open to growth.  He was my tailwind, helping me to become my best self.  His middle name was James. It means, “supplanter” – one who follows. I believe he choose to be lead by the Spirit and the word- recognizing the power and promise it brought to his life. I hope to carry on the strength of his name, following too. 

I have a rule that I cheat for chocolate. But my father who was diabetic, would cheat for cherries, corn and ice cream. He knew these foods were high in sugar, but he wanted the summer time splendor regardless of his condition. He often bought cherry pies, so I decided to highlight cherries. I twisted the idea and made a crumble – no crust. This dessert can easily be made for people with gluten and dairy allergies. It also pairs well with a giant scoop of vanilla ice cream. 

This Winter, Jen brought over a cherry crumble that hit the spot. She had one bag of frozen cherries left over from her summer harvest and she decided to share it with my family. After passing the Yakima pop-up cherry stands, I had a longing to make this recipe with Jen. I decided to get some farm fresh cherries and we conquered the crumble. Inspired by Jen, we used her treasured maple syrup to coat the cherries instead of sugar. Every Spring, she orders her annual maple syrup supply in bulk from Old State Farms based out of Pennsylvania. Making this dessert is a celebration that honors my father and my friendship with him. 

Buying 🍒 

I met Sarah who was leading the Fardell Farms cherry sales at the Sammamish Farmers Market. She said she fell into the job because her boyfriend was running the business and she wanted to support him (as humans we will embrace hard work when we know it will benefit the ones we love). For Sarah, this job isn’t her forever role, but for now she is working hard to sell their seasonal fruit offerings. I asked her what she liked most about her job and she explained that her interests were around designing and organizing the displays at their local fruit stand in Entiat, WA.  Their flagship location is called Trader John’s Entiat Fruitstand. This is a perfect road trip stop if you are traveling Chelan, as Entiat is on the way.  King 5 News did a feature article on their farm; it can be found on Fardell Farms Facebook page.  In this fast pace world it is refreshing to see young adults taking on the challenges and joys of farming. 

My children are a part of my work, almost everything I do is interconnected with them.  Naturally, I have been taking them along to every farm and market visit.  They are watching me build my blog posts and list ideas as I connect with the market vendors or farm workers.  Building relationships with the local market/farm community has spurred my daughter to do the same. Last week, Hailey Joy wanted to learn how to make bows. Right down from the cherry stand was a bow and jewelry designer. After I completed my work, she asked if I would go with her to another booth. Hailey noticed this woman’s work in creating bows. This was her opportunity to ask questions, collect information and get details on how to make bows for her girlfriends at school.  Showing your children the importance of reaching out and discovering the skills and expertise of others, gives them an opportunity to become more resourceful. When you live open, being a less guarded person, you naturally build interest and grow in knowledge. This kind of education is helping our children, our future, to develop in amazing ways. I love Albert Einstein – because of his ideas and wild hair. He taught me that you don’t have to have all the answers; you just need to know where to find them. Providing the opportunity and the space to learn is a gift.

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.

— Alber Eintstein

Hailey Joy gave her girlfriends homemade bows to wear for the school carnival.  

Look at these deep red beauties – Thank you Fardell Farms! Take some time to find a local farmer’s market that is selling fresh cherries.  I found that they taste much better compared to the grocery store cherries.  

Collecting my baking supplies. Gather up all the needed items to make this recipe. 

Incorporate all of the ingredients for your crumble with a pastry cutter. Make sure your oat mixture balls up like peas; that is how you know the butter/Earth Balance has done it’s job. Set aside until the fruit is prepped. 

Pit your cherries – using this device will cut your prep time in half.  A cherry pitter presses the seed through the bottom side of the cherry, “Wa-lah!”   

These cherries are ready to be dressed up with maple syrup and minute tapioca. 

Pour it on!

Sprinkle on just the right amount. Remember to evenly coat all the cherries with the syrup and tapioca. 

You are ready to CRUUUMBLE!

The topping is set and you’re ready to bake. Make sure your oven is preheated to 375 degrees, place your crumble on the middle rack in your oven. 

The process is complete when the fruit is tender, juices are bubbly and the crumble is golden.  

In the Pacific Northwest, we pair almost all desserts with Tillamook (TILL-Uh-MUK) ice cream.  My family’s favorite flavor is Old-Fashioned Vanilla. 

It is ready to serve, unless some little owl swoops in and gets to it first!

Cherry Maple Crumble

Gluten free crumble and farm fresh cherries tossed with maple syrup

Makes: 1 8×8 Baking Pan

Name of image (title of post is fine)

Prep time:

Cook time:

The Crumble


  • 3/4 heaping cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 heaping cup of almond meal flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • A pinch of allspice
  • 1/3 cup of butter or Earth Balance if you want to make it dairy free
  • 1/4 cup of either crushed walnuts or pecans
  • A pinch of salt


  1. Measure and mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats, brown sugar, almond meal, cinnamon, allspice and salt), then combine with butter or Earth Balance. Cut the butter in with a pastry cutter or two forks. The crumble should look like peas when it is properly incorporated. Stir in the nuts at the end.
  2. Note: We used Bob’s Red Mill almond meal flour. I find that this company produces many healthy flour options.
  3. The Fruit


    • 5 cups of pitted cherries
    • 5 tablespoons of pure (unfiltered) maple syrup
    • 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of minute tapioca


    1. Wash your fruit in a colander. With a cherry pitter, pit 5 cups of cherries and place in a bowl. Add 5 tablespoons of pure maple syrup (depending on your desired sweetness you can add or subtract one tablespoon of maple syrup). Then lightly stir in 2 and 1/2 tablespoons of minute tapioca. Place the prepped fruit in an 8 inch glass baking square and top with the crumble. Bake at 375 for 30+ minutes or until fruit has begun to release its juices and the crumble is golden. Serve with a side of vanilla ice cream and place a fresh cherry on top!


PS – Use your left over Cherry Maple Crumble in your oatmeal the day after – it is a wonderful way to get started in the morning. Add a large cup of coffee and butter toast for best results on the day ahead!

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