This cherry gazpacho is a cool, colorful bowl for hot summer days

This cherry gazpacho is a cool, colorful bowl for hot summer days

This cherry gazpacho is a cool, colorful bowl for hot summer days

Fruit is overtaking my family’s yard. And I love it.

This year, for instance, I learned just how invasive raspberry plants are. I let them double their footprint on one side of our backyard, and this year’s harvest, at its peak, has hit almost 2 pints a day. Every morning of their run I gathered berries as soon as I had my coffee, putting them right in a bowl that I filled with yogurt and granola for breakfast.

Down the fence a ways, the fig tree is finally looking like, well, a tree. In the front yard, the plum tree has grown by leaps and bounds, too — and while this was the first year for a (modest) plum output, the peach tree on the other side of the walkway is on track to match or even outdo last year’s stellar yield.

Get the recipe: Cherry Gazpacho

And then there are the cherry trees: two of them, one a little stunted and the other growing nicely. Last year, when a few dozen of the little green orbs began to blush, I started making plans, and watched closely as they got riper and riper by the day. Then one morning, when I went out back, the cherries were gone without a trace. No stems and pits on the ground as evidence of squirrel or bird work. It was as if they had never existed in the first place. Had I just imagined them?

This spring, the larger tree bloomed like it was the Tidal Basin, and when cherries followed, I got to them before the animals did. It wasn’t the largest haul — about 2 pounds — but enough for me to freeze in the hopes of baking a pie or two this summer. The issue, though, was that I had somehow neglected to tell my husband, Carl, that these weren’t the eat-out-of-hand variety he was hoping for. “They’re so tart!” he said. Exactly. For a baker, sour cherries are the way to go, because you can more easily strike whatever sweet-tart balance works for you and your palate.

All this fruit was making my dreams come true just as I was letting my vegetable beds languish, with the excuse that work, parenting and a book project kept me too busy for the planting, watering and weeding the annual plants require. I didn’t even manage to get tomato plants in, and now that the weather has turned scorching, I missed my chance.

That means I also missed my opportunity to make one of my go-to tomato dishes: gazpacho, just the easy, flexible, no-cook kind of thing I want to eat right now. But just as you can turn sour cherries sweet, you can turn sweet cherries savory. So on a particularly lazy day, when we had grocery-store cherries galore in the refrigerator for snacking on, I thought: Why not gazpacho?

I wish I could tell you that I labored for weeks testing and tweaking this recipe, but the fact is, it came together beautifully with a single swap of cherries for tomatoes. The most time-consuming part was pitting the cherries, but even that takes only 10 minutes or so. (Since my cherry pitter went missing, I’ve taken to just using my fingers, and I think it might be my fastest method yet.) Then I added what I usually add when I blend up gazpacho: cucumber, red bell pepper, garlic, olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, a little ice for chill. I reserved some of the vegetables for garnish, plus a little mint, drizzled on some olive oil, and gave Carl a taste.

He took a sip, looked at me, and smiled. “We need to have a dinner party,” he said, a sentence that I have never before heard come out of his mouth. “Just so you can make this again.”

We haven’t hosted that get-together yet, but I’ve whipped up the gazpacho again and again, using cherries from the farmers market and from the grocery store — even from the freezer aisle. (They just need a little thawing time, either before or after you make the gazpacho.)

One day, I hope, the gazpacho will get even easier to make. I made Carl a promise. Maybe by next spring, we can get a huge dying tree taken out of our front yard, opening another spot to sunlight, and I’ll plant some more cherry trees. This time, you can bet they’ll be sweet.

Get the recipe: Cherry Gazpacho