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May 10, 2008 02:09 PM

The 2008 cherries are here !!!

Three vendors at the El Cerrito farmers market were selling cherries today.

The best were the Brook cherries from Palomino Family Farms (the stand that sells honey).

The Brook cherries didn't look as red as they should but they were crisp, full of flavor and better than my faded fond memories of last year's crop. Delicious and highly recommended.

Palomino was also selling burlat cherries, but I never like that early cherry. They are too soft for my taste. The best I can say about burlat cherries is that it means that bing cherries are only a few weeks away.

Second best were The Peach Farm's garnet cherries. These were beautiful deep ... well, garnet--colored ... but, IMO, they weren't as crisp or flavorful as the Brook. The vendor at Peach Farm said the garnet crop was excellent this year and the cherries were the largest he's ever seen. For a garnet variety these were the best I've ever tried. Usually a garnet is little better than a burlat.

The stand across from Peach Farm had ok, unmarked cherries. However, their strawberries were excellent.

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  1. Monterey Market has cherries today for $1.98/lb. Unmarked variety but dark and delicious.

    1. How funny! I was walking through Oakland Chinatown today and saw "California cherries" for $1.49. I bought some and was thinking of posting about cherry season being here.

      This should be a good year for local cherries: the cool dry weather I think is optimal.

      1. When I was driving down to Monterey I passed a few cherry shacks in Gilroy. My girlfriend is crazy about cherries so when I head back to the Bay I'll stop by. Here's hoping to some sweet ones! Btw, has anyone got a chance to pick some up in Gilroy?


        3 Replies
        1. re: Lando

          Most of the cherries came from further south, but give them a week or so.

          1. re: Lando

            My favorite stand in Gilroy is Christopher Ranch. Hope it's open by the time you're heading back. It's on the northbound side of 101 south of town.

            And here's more about the other stands from visits the last two seasons,

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Christopher Ranch was open today, a large box of an unmarked dark red variety (about two pounds?) was $5. They are sweet, but a little softer than I would like. I didn't see any garlic or other items for sale besides cherries. Not too bad getting on and off the freeway.

          2. I just received my annual postcard from Olson's in Sunnyvale. It said that cherry season had begun and that this season will be "bountiful." Their Cherry Festival is scheduled for Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1.


            C J Olson Cherries
            348 W El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087

            2 Replies
            1. re: Nancy Berry

              I agree, Deborah is the third generation providing the very best available anywhere. The Cherry Festival is well worth attending.

              1. re: Nancy Berry

                I was just there an hour ago, and their cherries won't be in for another 2 or 3 weeks, depending on the weather. They currently have Bings and Burlats from Lodi.

              2. Many markets in SF Chinatown were selling cherries today. Prices ranged from 89 cents to $1.19/lb. If you go, look around before you buy. I bought some medium sized ones for $1.09/lb thinking they were large for so early in the season. I quickly realized I'd been hasty. There are already some really large ones, as big as I've ever seen Bing cherries get.

                The 89 cent ones, unsurprisingly, aren't really attention worthy. They're hardly bigger than your average raspberry.

                5 Replies
                1. re: Pei

                  They are down to as low as $0.69/lb in Chinatown for the full sized ones. There's also a guy who sells them on the street (Third and Market). Don't know his price, but he gets a lot of business.

                  1. re: Xiao Yang

                    I was also going to mention the low Chinatown prices----so much lower than all the other retail outlets. Costco has the 4-pound box for $12.

                    1. re: baron45

                      In SF Chinatown yesterday cherries were from 59¢ to 79¢ per pound. I looked at the crates and they're marked as "exceeds standards for doubles", mixed varieties, and originating in Tulare and Stanislaus. They taste just fine, if you don't mind the mixed sizes of large to small and various shapes.

                    2. re: Xiao Yang

                      Wow. At the MV farmer's market, they are all going for $5/lb and up.

                      1. re: anzu

                        I happened to drive by the corner market at 16th & Valencia and from the street, I saw a sign for cherries at 99 cents a pound.