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Cherry Picking

Posted by ESC on January 20, 2000

In Reply to: Cherry Picking posted by Teach on January 19, 2000

: : Why does "Cherry Picking" mean "Taking the pick of the Litter". Hey, did I just explain a phrase with a another phrase. Anyway, can it be that the cherry is the best part of whatever it's in.(ie: icecream.) Therefore, when someone cherry picks something---they're taking the best part leaving behind the less desired.
: : I wonder when a farmer "really" cherry picks (off the tree) he cherry picks the best ones for market.
: :
: In certain varieties of cherry tree the fruits ripens at different time - rather like strawberries - and it's necessary to choose between the ripe red fruit which are ready to eat and the green/'not yet red enough' fruit which definitely are not. Hence the term "cherry picking" means to choose the best from those on offer/available. I don't know where, when or by whom the expression was first used.

This calls to mind another fruity phrase I hear around the office. The easy tasks that don't take much time are referred to as the "low-hanging fruit." But back to cherry picking, here's another use of the phrase: "cherry pick. (basketball) To remain near the basket while play is at the other end of the court in hopes of getting a long pass and an undefended basket." From "Slang" by Paul Dickson.