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Jun 4, 2007 07:13 PM

Mutant "twin" black cherries

Does anyone know what the deal is with the abundance of mutant cherries on the market in L.A.? I ate cherries for years back east and never saw this breed that I can only call mutant. A regular cherry with a shrivled up teardrop sized growth on one side, almost like an unformed twin. The first time I saw it was when I bought cherries a couple times from the freeway overpass fruit seller guys, I thought maybe they get the also-ran grade B cherries and that's why they're so cheap. However I just got another gang of them from WholeFoods, with the WholePriceTag.

Anyone got the 4-1-1?


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  1. I've seen these for the past few years, maybe even longer. I have no idea why it happens. Do you think you're eating genetically engineered fruit?

    1 Reply
    1. re: katkoupai

      I don't think it's genetically engineered as the "Twin" is usually shriveled and kind of raisin-like. Usually genetic engineering, if nothing else, gives an asthetically pleasing result, not an alien growth. Hmmm...

    2. We're getting quite a few from the farmers' market as well (organic).

        according to this the culprit is heat while the fruit is forming.

        5 Replies
          1. re: chez cherie

            Thanks Cherie, those are indeed the mutant twins from whence I speak! Makes sense since here in LA our fruit usually comes from parts south.

            1. re: chez cherie

              Cherie's excellent article says "The critical period is probably the last three weeks in July, or perhaps a week earlier" (that was for the Washington area).

              Maybe CA cherries were affected by last summer's heat wave in CA. That would explain why I got lots of twins & spur mutants when I bought at farmers markets, but none when I bought at Safeway (whose cherries might've been from outside CA the time I bought them).

              1. re: Alice Patis

                No, you got a lot of twins and doubles at the farmers' markets and none at Safeway because Safeway won't accept them.

                1. re: ricepad

                  I was reminded of this thread when I bought cherries at 2 stores last week. First, got some at Safeway, thinking I'd gotten a good deal - I think they were $2.99 a pound. They were all perfectly shaped, and nearly all ripe. Later in the week, I saw that cherries were 99 cents a pound - really!! - at 99 Ranch Market, the large Chinese supermarket. Couldn't resist picking up a bag (3.5 lbs!). Nearly half of the latter bag were mutants: double cherries, or a bit undersized, or singles with little spurs. Easily the ugliest cherries I've ever bought. BUT they were nearly all deep burgundy in color and just as tasty as the ones from Safeway - which, to me, is what matters. My husband joked that these must have come from the cherry factory outlet store. For 99 cents a pound, totally worth it. Note: four days later, I have a few left from each bag and have noticed that some of the ones with the spurs are a little moldy around the defective area. So if you get that type, eat them fast.

            2. I live in cherry country, and all the farmers have stands where they sell 'doubles' and 'spurs', which are culled from the rest of the crop. 'Doubles' are exactly that - two cherries on a single stem. 'Spurs' are cherries with a shriveled appendage which is really a malformed (or underdeveloped) double. Cherry packers do not think that doubles or spurs sell well (I always liked the doubles) - and in fact, the packers who ship to Japan have market research to support it - so they tend to show up most in farmers' markets and roadside stands.