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Nature's Gift Cherries, Gilroy

m
Melanie Wong Jun 20, 2006 06:17 PM

Early afternoon on Sunday I made a stop at this farm stand to try some cherries. Nature's Gift is on the westside of 101 on the south end of Gilroy. As you can see from the position of the flags in the photos, it has a stiff wind blowing through the pass. The temperature was 10 degrees cooler here than when I was passing the outlet center exit further north.

The cherries sold here are local from their own farm. They had Rainiers and an unmarked red variety for $4 per basket and Bings were $6 per basket. I asked to taste a sample and found the unknown reds as good as Bings we've been buying elsewhere. The Rainiers were especially good, large sized and quite crisp with complex flavor. Next weekend may be the last of the crop.

It's a bit hairy getting back on the highway from here. You'll need to wait a long time for a break in traffic that's moving at 65+mph. There is another stand a little further south before the overpass that has a merge lane, but I've not stopped there before.

Image: http://static.flickr.com/57/171551913...

  1. s
    susancinsf Jun 20, 2006 07:54 PM

    arghhh...it's been closed when I've been by, partially because sometimes I go by fairly (very)early on my way to dive...but I've wanted to stop. Looks like I will have to time my dive trips better next year, but thanks for the post, as I've really wanted to check out the quality!

    4 Replies
    1. re: susancinsf
      m
      Melanie Wong Jun 20, 2006 08:05 PM

      Do you have a favorite on the eastside of 101? I'll be returning to the City tomorrow and will stop in Gilroy for cherries again if I get out during business hours.

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        s
        susancinsf Jun 21, 2006 12:16 AM

        There is only one on the east side that I can think of; it is either just before or just after Garlic World (which isn't worth the stop, IMO, although they do have fruit in season), and last time I stopped I wasn't that impressed with the crop. Also, traffic is hairy in the late afternoon and evening (which is usually when I am heading North), particularly on weekends. As you mentioned about Nature's Gift, getting on and off the road can be scary...

        sorry I am not more help. My CH sense always was telling me that Nature's Gift was the best option, but do report back on any other finds!

        1. re: susancinsf
          m
          Melanie Wong Jun 22, 2006 03:39 AM

          I didn't get to Gilroy until about 6:30pm. The Christopher Ranch stand on the south end of town (before the cutover) was already closed, as were the couple north of it. I saw cars in the lot at Ralph's Cherry Hut (shown below), so pulled in. The cherries here were in 2# bags for $6 each, but I bought 'em anyway. These are from the orchard behind the building. They're not nearly as pretty as the ones I got from Nature's Gift but the price was a little lower. They closed the doors as soon as I paid and got out of there. There was one more stand open on the east side before Garlic World.

          Image: http://static.flickr.com/61/172490126...

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            m
            Melanie Wong Jun 22, 2006 10:21 AM

            Having a bowl of cherries, now thoroughly chilled, I have to say that I'm quite disappointed in the yellow cherries from Ralph's. Many are too bruised to be edible, lots of small undersized fruit, uneven ripening with too many green and sour cherries, and too many stems. The red ones are better, but still too many stems and small puny cherries. The yellow ones don't have any where near the flavor of the ones from Nature's Gift. The red ones are comparable, the ones that are ripe, that is.

    2. r
      rick Jun 22, 2006 01:37 AM

      sort of in a different locale, but just today, i was out at a self-pick cherry place, Nunn Better in Brentwood (behind mt diablo in the east bay). Insane insane good. cherries...not sure of the variety...picked 2 lbs in no more then 5 minutes...$5 total. well worth the drive, especially since there are easily two dozen other family farms out there with great stuff...equally good was the brentwood corn which I just made a dinner of.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rick
        m
        Melanie Wong Jun 22, 2006 03:41 AM

        Thanks, did you get a sense of how much longer cherries will be available?

        Link: http://www.media-alliance.org/mediane...

        1. re: rick
          b
          Bill Wong Jun 22, 2006 11:39 AM

          I was in SF Chinatown yesterday and there were several stores on Stockton St (@ Pacific) selling cherries for $1.39 a pound. Raniers were going for $1.59 a pound. Tasted them later and they were good quality, i.e. no bruises, no second seeds attached, etc.

          Went to Trader Joe's later and they had the Raniers for $5.99 a pound !

        2. MartyS Jun 24, 2006 06:37 AM

          There are two produce stands on Noriega bet. 31st and 33rd in San Fransisco. Over the past week and a half, we paid prices varying from $0.99 to $1.89/# for great Bings. Navel Oranges were $0.59/# and the baby bok choy was fresh and flavorfull.

          1. Melanie Wong Jul 1, 2006 04:21 PM

            Wednesday afternoon I stopped at the Cherry Shack in Gilroy.

            http://static.flickr.com/54/178889166...

            It's located on the eastside of 101, north of Ralph's Cherry Hut and south of Garlic World. The quality was very good here. The cherrie are grown by Borello Farms, same as Natur's Gift across the highway.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Melanie Wong
              Melanie Wong May 11, 2007 10:41 PM

              This afternoon I stopped at the Cherry Shack for some cherries. These are Bings from Borello Farms. This week they're bigger, darker and more flavorful. This batch was a little soft, but still better than the week before from the same farm.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                hhc Jun 14, 2009 07:21 PM

                We had to stop because my friend was tired so he pulled over at Cherry Shack. I was sad to have missed Nature's Gift Shack since it was on the opposite side, but when I got home found out it's the same farm: Borello Farms! Thanks Melanie.

                Now one basket of cherries: Bing or Rainer is $8! Ask them to throw in some more since people do sample from the basket they have laid out. Don't get strawberries here - they don't taste good. They sell Gilroy Garlic here sign said - didn't buy any, don't know the price either.

                One pit toilet available. Getting back on 101 is scary!

                My pics:
                http://picasaweb.google.com/hiketoomu...

                1. re: hhc
                  Melanie Wong Jun 14, 2009 07:29 PM

                  Looking at your photo, the boxes of cherries are more than twice the size of a "basket", so $8 is fair. A basket is the green plastic container like the nuts are in.

              2. Melanie Wong May 6, 2007 06:58 PM

                Stopped at Nature's Gift cherry stand an hour ago on my way south for our first cherries of the season. Only Bings now and they're on the small side and a bit light. But they're only $4 per basket now. The cherries are from Borello farms.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  susancinsf May 6, 2007 07:09 PM

                  Thanks for the update.....will check it out on my drive down 101 next weekend...by the way, there was also a small, unnamed cherry stand open last weekend on 152 between Monterey and Prunedale, on the right hand side coming east...it semed pretty early and we were late, so didn't stop, but if anyone does, would love a report back. (though I think we are stradelling the SF/CA Board border there, so perhaps a report should be on CA board).

                2. Melanie Wong May 15, 2007 10:39 PM

                  This afternoon I stopped at the Cherries Etc. stand on the westside of the highway at the far south end of town. This one probably has the safest on and off the freeway access. I has a right turn lane onto the adjoining paved road and when you exit, there's a merge lane back onto the highway. The Bings here are prepacked in net bags, 2 lbs. for $5. They're locally grown, the gal said a mile away. She was wearing a Ralph's Cherry Hut apron, so I assume this is under the same ownership. Like my sampling from Ralph's last year, these had a lot of bruised fruit, uneven ripening, and leaves. But they were cheap and when traffic is heavy in late afternoon, I might consider stopping here again because the turrnoff and return is easier.

                  Image: http://farm1.static.flickr.com/208/50...

                  1. Melanie Wong May 11, 2008 12:20 PM

                    Driving through Gilroy on Thursday, I noticed that some of the cherry stands have opened to kick off the season. I didn't have time to stop to try any. However, my favorite one, Christopher Ranch, was still shuttered.

                    Christopher Ranch cherries post,
                    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/403338

                    1. Lando May 11, 2008 02:06 PM

                      I posted a reply on RWOrange's cherry topic about Gilroy cherry shacks. I'm down here in Monterey, CA -- a cold day here in fact -- and when I go back home to the Bay Area I will be stopping by Gilroy for some cherries. How do they taste? I really hope they're sweet. Nice picture post btw. I always see them when I head home.

                      -Lando
                      www.SpotsForDates.com

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Lando
                        Melanie Wong May 19, 2008 01:09 PM

                        Did you try any? Coming back from Fresno yesterday, I took the Pacheco Pass Hwy (152) through Gilroy all the way to 101. Probably passed by six or so cherry shacks on the portion of 152 east of the freeway. I didn't stop because I'd already purchased cherries in Fresno, but I hope someone can tell us about some of these stands, which have a much easier on and off the road than along 101. I also noticed that the Christopher Ranch stand was open on 101.

                      2. l
                        LauraB706 Jun 17, 2009 01:26 AM

                        May I suggest Andy's Orchard in Morgan Hill. Andy Mariani really knows his stuff ~ and was voted "2009 Cherry Man of the Year" by the California Cherry Advisory Board.

                        The Tasting, Tour & Harvest Walk is well worth checking out. If you go this weekend, you can taste at least 10 cherries varieties, a few apricots, and then take head out to the orchard to pick a bucket's worth of cherries.

                        http://andysorchard.com/cart/index.ph...

                        -----
                        Andy's Orchard
                        1615 Half Rd, Morgan Hill, CA 95037

                         
                         
                         
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