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StevenC

Cherries in Northern California

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I'm in San Francisco, and I've been scouring the local stores and farmers markets for cherries, but the only varieties that seem to be on sale anywhere in the city are Bing and Rainier, which are nice but a little boring. (I've come to think of them as the Red Delicious and Yellow Delicious, respectively, of cherry varieties... they're sweet and juicy, but they don't have anywhere near the intense cherry flavor of some other varieties.) I'd love to get my hands on other kinds of cherries, particularly sour cherries. Has anyone seen any other varieties?


Edited by StevenC (log)

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I haunt most of the markets, including Chinatown, and those are the only two varieties I've seen as well.

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When I visited my mom in Brentwood a few weeks ago, they had gone out to pick bing's and brought back the biggest, sweetest cherries I've had in a while. And for only $2.50 a pound. They ended up picking 22 pounds :laugh: . I know some of the stands in that area and the u-picks have some other varieties, but none were as good as the bing's.

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Am currently reading Russ Parsons' wonderful book "How to Pick a Peach", and just finished the chapter on cherries...

Apparently, essentially the ONLY cherries grown on any scale for sale as fresh fruit are Bings. Raniers, even though they're becoming more common, don't even register as a blip on the cherry radar commercially.

Sour cherries (Montmorency is the most common cultivar) are grown extensively in the Midwest (i.e. Michigan), but only sold commercially for canned/processed fruit. You can buy sour cherries fresh, but only if you're in the area in which they're grown. They are not shipped in an unprocessed state.

So, in a nutshell, the only hope of getting fresh cherries other than Bings or Raniers is to know someone who has an heirloom tree or two, or a farmer with some heirlooms in his orchard.

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That's too bad. I've bought great sour cherries back in New York, and all kinds of cherries in Europe, particularly the dark, bitter cherries that are absolutely terrific in pastry and preserves. Well, if there's been a renaissance in heirloom apples and tomatoes, maybe heirloom cherries will be the next thing...

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I have purchased flash frozen sour cherries from this website in the past, and plan to do so again. After picking, pitting and freezing 15+ pounds of sour cherries in Princeton, NJ in 2008, I realized they weren't near the (frozen) quality of these Michigan-grown cherries from the aforementioned website. They also weren't any cheaper. I'll never pick cherries again, at least not on that scale. Not while great frozen cherries are available.

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