The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

What's the cherry situation where you are?

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

What's the cherry situation where you are?

I've seen the damnedest thing this week. I don't think I've ever actually seen Rainier cherries cheaper than Bing cherries in the entire time I've been eating them, but I went into my local grocery stores this week to find one store selling for $3.97 per pound and the other selling for $3.47 per pound...a dollar less than Bings. In both cases. O.o I'm in Iowa, mind you, so it may be a regional thing. I'm not really complaining (who would?) as Rainiers actually make more sense for me for eating raw (must half and pit for my daughter - Bings get rather messy), but I was going to make a cherry-blueberry tart and wanted Bings for the dark color.

Another thing I'm not liking is the lack of available sour cherries, even frozen. Neither store has them locally, and I'm wanting to make a pie. I can get canned ones, but at $3.49 for a 15 ounce can, I'd rather have the frozen or fresh.

Anyone else experiencing strange cherry season?

AnnieT's picture

Here in Washington State we heard that it was going to be a huge crop this year. I buy them from a fellow who brings them over to the island each summer and sets up a stand in the next town. When I mentioned the (to me) good news about plenty of fruit he told me that the number of cherries means that they are smaller and some of his suppliers are refusing to buy them. In fact there will be thousands of pounds of cherries unpicked and rotting in the orchards! The farmers won't be hiring the pickers if they can't sell the cherries - everybody loses. A.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

I've heard this, too. Kinda makes me sad as the smaller ones are really great for pie, pastry, and cake.

qahtan's picture

 Here in Niagara Peninsula, Ontario, Canada we have a glut of cherries, but we also import Ranier Cherries from Washington and I was paying  $2,47 pound.

 Black cherries I buy from the grower that processes them for whole sale market,  I picked up 20 pound bucket  washed stemmed  pitted cherries picked that day  no sugar not frozen till I take them home, $42.00, I always get them when they are just picked before they are frozen. They also have the sour cherries , same price, don't like/buy them.

If I call ahead to see if they are ready  and I go out to the farm and they are not ready until tomorrow, they have been know to give me the cherries to make up for the wasted gas yesterday.  They also sell black cherry jioce that is said to be very good for arthritus.

 Peaches from another farmer I can get a heaped 6 quart basket in maybe another 3 weeks with about 16 peaches for $2.  these will be cling stone not keen on them, but they are soon folowed by the freestone same price etc.  There are peaches about at the moment Red Haven, but they are rock hard, like the sugar plums, far too early for both.    qahtan

gcook17's picture

Weirdest year yet for our cherry trees:  The bing cherries in our yard (Mountain View, CA) got infested by some kind of fruit fly this year.  We had to pick them all and destroy them in hopes that the flies won't be back next year.   The cherries all had tiny holes where the flies had injected eggs into the fruit and the larvae were clustered around the pit making the fruit rot.  The larvae will apparently live in the soil under the tree and return next year if any fruit is allowed to fall.  This wasn't too bad for us because the bing cherry tree has never produced huge amounts.  It would be a disaster for a farmer who needed to sell them, though.  Last week a Ag dept. person came through the neighborhood putting up fruit fly traps to sample the pest population.  I talked to her for awhile but she didn't seem to know anything about this particular type of fly.

Fortunately our sour cherries weren't bothered by the fruit flies but the crop was less than half the size it usually is--I think due to the weather this year.


Paddyscake's picture

were the best cherries my husband & I ever had! Flavor and size were extraordinary, unfortunately the season was only 2-3 weeks. Size-wise almost ping-pong ball  size in diameter. If you ever see any, grab'em! We live in Oregon and are fortunate to get great Washington cherries, Rainiers, Bings and Chelans.

Chelans take the cake though.


SylviaH's picture

I absolutely love the sour/tart cherries for my pies...I only see the sweet in San Diego.  I to hate paying the high cost for a the few that come in the can..but I think tart cherries are just ment for pie's.. they are the best in my opionion!


LindyD's picture

We've had record setting cold weather here (I had to start my furnace last Saturday - the daytime high never even made it to the normal nighttime low), so the cherry crop has been delayed by around three weeks.  

The National Cherry Festival in Traverse City (July 4-11) had to import cherries this year.  Normally that's when the crop is harvested and all the cherry stands go up in the area.  The roadside stands are just starting to be set up along the highways.

Tart cherry production for Michigan this year is estimated to be 220 million pounds, up 33 percent from last year.  Sweet cherries will come in at around 28,000 tons.

No idea what the prices are going to be at the roadside stands - will find out in the next few days.  

On the bright side, the reports are that both sweet and tart crops are excellent.  Michigan is the No. 1 producer of tart cherries, so if you can't find fresh or frozen tarts, it's because of our weather.  They're still harvesting.

Stephanie Brim's picture
Stephanie Brim

Ah, that helps things then. I'll just wait a couple weeks. I'm going to ask the local produce guy to see what the prices would be on fresh and also whether or not he can get me a cherry pitter if he can get them cheap enough. Pitting 4-5 pounds of sour cherries using a knife isn't something that really appeals. :D