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Where to find fresh cherries in the winter

I am wondering if anyone in North America was ever able to find fresh cherries in the winter. When here is winter, cherries are in season in Australia (November, December), and maybe in other parts of the world. I see no reason why this cherries cannot be exported to North America, yet, I have never seen cherries in the winter. They would make a great gift!

Thanks!

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  1. Cherries are about the only truly seasonal fruits left, which is a precious thing as it makes them all the better (especially tart cherries, which have a 2 week season in mid Jully). Good cherries bruise easily and do not ship as well as other fruits. Also, the cross season comes during a time when other more local seasonal fruits are in peak abundance, making it probably not worthwhile to import because people are not in as deep privation of fresh seasonal fruit as they are in springtime.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Karl S

      Ah, there's always someone who is up to the challenge to scrape uo every holiday buck ... and the company I suspected would have them does ... haven't tried them though ...

      Direct from the Andes to Harry and David and you ... dark sweet cherries at Christmas ... only $40 a pound
      http://www.harryanddavid.com/gifts/st...

      If you really want to give these as gifts you might consider if the recipiant is concerned about carbon footprints and eating locally. Some do, some don't.

    2. I've gotten fresh cherries in the middle of winter at Costco's, once in a while. Have to pay dearly for them, as they are exported from Chile (if my memory serves me right).

      11 Replies
      1. re: notmartha

        I was thinking gift cherries from the original post, but I've seen cherries around christmast time at the upscale markets ... and while expensive, not $40 a pound. They usually look sad though.

        1. re: rworange

          For that amount of money, you could get 2 jars of fabulous Italian amarena (wild tart mountain cherries in syrup) - what happens to cherries when they go to heaven. Way better than anything cherry except perhaps good fresh tart cherries, which in the US cannot be had except in mid-July in select northern states....

          1. re: Karl S

            People who would like cherries in the winter, could make a note to themselves to think about this next July. Get some wonderful local cherries and soak them in some decent brandy. Hide them under your bed or on the bookcase for the Holidays.
            That will satisfy RW's carbon footprint concerns, my local and seasonal food soapbox and Karl's cherries going to heaven swoons. And all for waaaaay less than $40/lb. Make some for your friends as gifts!

            1. re: MakingSense

              Another way is to make a granita or sorbetto from them; unlike cooked/canned preparations, frozen uncooked preparations preserve the flesh flavor of tart cherries.

              1. re: Karl S

                That's why freezers became immediately popular why Clarence Birdseye patented them in 1926 and they became available about 1930. Even in the Depression, people had to have them. There were freezer lockers, much like our current storage units, that people rented to store their produce, sides of meat and game.

                Local foods year round are made possible by wise use of freezers, canning and preserving. I hope it's something that more people begin to consider as part of the rising interest in the buy local movement. It makes winter meals much more interesting and many regional food traditions depended on food preserved for winter use.

                1. re: MakingSense

                  My parents bought some of the meat locker cabinets for storing stuff in at our farm when the local meat/freezer locker went out. Since it was cold enough to keep stuff frozen outside in the winter time and root cellars would maintain a lot of produce, locally the the freezer lockers were used mostly for meat only.

                  The lockers were kept on the 'second landing' going upstairs, which required a ladder to get to. Each of us kids were assigned one drawer for stuff we wanted to keepsake stuff, like first communion dresses, special school projects, etc. I wonder what happened to them when the farm was sold now that I think about- they were great for storage.

              2. re: MakingSense

                That sounds wonderful. I've never brandied cherries, but I'll start this year!

                My mother put up jars of sweet dark cherries with their pits intact this past summer, and over Thanksgiving, I was being a total pig with them. The pits provide the most sublime almond flavor to the fruit and the liquid-soused fruit is just totally luscious. A bowl full was the most wonderful/messy finger food. Simple home canning at its best.

            2. re: rworange

              The ones at Costco's were big, plump and fresh. It's not always available though, and I think it was like $15 for 2 pounds.

              Not that hard to find a gift box and dump the cherries in - cheaper than Hardy & David.

              Another thought is dried cherries - at least I thought I got a catalog of fancy dried fruits.

              1. re: notmartha

                CJ Olson sells the best TART dried cherries. The dried Bings are only ok, but the tart cherries are wonderful.
                http://www.cjolsoncherries.com/Mercha...

                Hmmm ... looking at the Olson site, it seems they are selling fresh cherries for delivery in December. Doesn't say where they are coming from. They are my favorite cherries in the world ... yes, the world ... during local cherry season in June. Debrah Olson does have a knack for buying the best produce from other farms ... so who knows ... they might have good cherries from somewhere in December.
                http://www.cjolsoncherries.com/Mercha...

                Slightly cheaper than Harry and David at $25 lb. If these are anything like their summer cherries, worth it.

                1. re: rworange

                  Thanks for the pointer. The tart cherries probably will go well in granola.

            3. re: notmartha

              I actually saw cherries today at Berkeley Bowl -- $6.95/lb.

            4. The South of France (Sainte-Maxime) beautiful provence produce stands all through our winter months !

              2 Replies
              1. re: JayVaBeach

                How do cherriy trees manage to flower and produce fruit off-season even in a mild climate? Have they bred unusual ever-bearing varieties?

                1. re: MikeG

                  Study Provence & perhaps then you'll understand.

              2. I don't know where you are, but I have seen cherries from Chile in NY and Maine in the fall and winter. I saw them in the market in Maine just yesterday at around $6 a lb.

                1 Reply
                1. re: JMF

                  I think labor-intensive, fragile ag products like cherries isn't high on the list of Oz exports to the US, but I've seen those Chilean cherries here in NYC for several years now. I tend not to buy them so I haven't noticed whether we're getting them yet this year, though.

                2. I have seen them at the Toronto Chinatown for about 3/lb. They're not as great as summer cherries, but they do in winter when I'm just excited to SEE a cherry.