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Apr 25, 2009 04:11 PM

Cherries are here !!!

I spotted the first truck in Sebastopol yesterday but didn't have time to stop. In Richmond today on MacDonald and 37th there was a truck selling cherries at 2 lbs for $5 or $3 for 1 lb.

As is often the case for these roadside trucks, the cherries are probably from the Fresno area. As is also the case, the are almost all doubles (conjoined cherries)

However, they were pretty good ... crisp, juicy and slightly tart. I'm guessing maybe Bings but that seems too early.

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  1. How funny -- I saw "truck cherries" for the first time this year in Oakland today.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler

      I didn't see where they were from but the Temescal Farmers market in Oakland had a stand with Cherries. $7/basket (fairly large basket, but they were expensive).

      1. re: skwid

        When I was there it was $5 a basket (later in the afternoon). I had a taste, they weren't quite ready yet, but I was excited to see them.

    2. Is there a double-cherry sorting facility in Fresno, or does Fresno have a lot of freaky trees?

      3 Replies
      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

        I'm guessing these trucks buy the cherries that don't make it to the supermarket for cosmetic reasons. They probably get them cheap.

        The first time I clued in on these trucks being out of the area was during strawberry season. Just down the road from two stands surrounded by strawberry plants were a few trucks. I asked if they were from the farms and the guy said Fresno. When I think someone understands what I'm saying, I'll ask and it is usually someplace down that way.

        1. re: rworange

          I agree that the trucks probably buy the double cherries cheap as "seconds."

          I think the foothills just east of Fresno are particularly good for stone fruit, either that, or due to the topography there's simply more land that suitable for stone fruit there. On the valley floor they grow a lot of strawberries and grapes, but most of the strawberries are for jam, and most of the grapes are for raisins. Raisins are one of Fresno's claims to fame -- according to one website, the Fresno area produces 50 percent of the world's raisins and 90 percent of the raisins sold in the US.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I am sure you are correct that most strawberries in the Valley are grown for jam, but it does give me an excuse to relate a cute story: was at the Farmer's Market in Merced today and asked the woman running one stand where her strawberries were grown. I was having trouble understanding her answer at first (she was Asian, presumbably Hmong, and her English was limited), and finally realized that instead of the city or region I was expecting as an answer, she was trying to tell me the street names surrounding her field on the other side of town (now, that's local! :-)).

            No cherries yet though....though there are lots of cherry trees around here....

      2. They were at the Alemany Farmers Market.
        They were not sweet and not very red.
        I think they were picked too early.

        8 Replies
        1. re: mikeylikesit

          It's way too early for cherries! My tree is flowering now. You can go to the Cherry Blossom festival in Cupertino this weekend.

          The old time mantra for the Bay Area was strawberries for Easter, cherries for Memorial Day, apricots for Fourth of July. It's strawberry time.

          Eating things out of season is much worse than not eating locally grown food.

          1. re: 512window

            I''ll bet you start seeing some of the first of the season cherries next week at most of the farmers markets, not only Alameny. The Tartans, Garnets, Burlats, Brooks, etc. I'd say Memorial Day is more Bing cherry season.

            It is totally possible that the cherries the trucks are selling are the Brooke variety which is early and tastes similar to a Bing.

            Here's last year's Cherry report where the first cherries arrived around May 10th.

            Even for early, truck cherries, these were pretty good. I have high hopes for the coming cherry season.

            1. re: rworange

              Last Wed Berkeley Bowl had the Fuji Farms strawberries you recommended. They are very good but now I'm thinking they are not organic, right? I've read that strawberries are one of the things that you should avoid if not organic. Any thoughts?

              1. re: walker

                Don't know if they are organic or if they had both organic and non available. If BB doesn't label as organic, it isn't.

                A note that the post about the strawberries was a few weeks ago, early in the season. At that time, for what was availble at BB, Fuji was the best. Don't know the current selection.

                My favorites of all strawberries, remain Chandler's. In fact the first place I ever had chandlers was at BB. It also was the first realization that there were other fruits and veggies outside of pears and apples that had distinct qualities and flavors based on the type.

                1. re: walker

                  I agree it's way too early for these to be California cherries. On the Central Coast, roadside vendors have been selling imported cherries since March. There are early, mid, and late season cherries just as there are apples, peaches, pears, etc. may be late season ones from SA.

                  1. re: toodie jane

                    Actually cherries are coming into market now from Southeast Bakersfield and the Arvin area. There's 400 acres just off Hiway 58 before you get to the foothills that are ripe now. The trend is as the later months go it moves up the valley. In Delano there's a farm that sells you picks right around Memorial Day.

                    1. re: toodie jane

                      Nope. Local. Today I bought a basket of Brooke cherries from C.J Olson an uber-reliable cherry and fruit vendor. The cherries are from Lodi. Surprisingly, the obscenely expensive perfect cherrries weren't as good as my ugly street cherries.

                      However ... get this ...

                      Apricots are here !!!

                      When I was leaving, the path was strewn with the last of the local Sunnyvale pink cherry blossoms. They danced across the street in the wind and I almost danced with them with my little stash of summer goodness.

                      1. re: rworange

                        let's hear it for microclimates!

                        we had frost last week at the coast after that 3 day hot spell. My cherry is just blooming now. crazy!

            2. I got a small box of Brooks at work the other day .. lots of doubles and not quite there. - even wholesale they are on the expensive side . .good for making a cooked compote or sauce but I am still eagerly anticipating when the Bings are available. . it looks like after memorial day is when the Bing promotions start. . .I CANNOT wait!

              We've been getting Swanton Berry Farms organic strawberries. ..Chandlers - I love this farm because they are so consistent with their product. I also saw them at Monterey Market.

              Summer cannot come soon enough. .. I need stone fruit!

              1. Does anyone know the deal with the orchard that still operates near Whisman and MIddlefield? The farmhouse, and an associated stand, are a few buildings South on Whisman. If you look on Google Earth, you can see the trees, although I'm certain there were more in that plot 10 years ago when I worked nearby and used to walk & think in their orchard.

                These guys must be the last of the peninsula stone fruit growers. I'd love to know the story behind why they're still there. That's an area rich in Silicon Valley history, just up the block from Fairchild Semiconductor (now gone).

                And does that fruit stand operate? I remember trees in the apricot / peach spectrum.

                My early tree has already blossomed and is growing the fruit. My late tree seems to be struggling, might not get any blossoms this year.

                4 Replies
                  1. re: bbulkow

                    BBulkow, is the plot you talking about ? :





                    ........Yes, the Valley of Hearts Delights will soon be a thing of the past.

                    As far as stone fruit growers on the peninsula.... while CJ Olson Farms no longer has orchards of their own, they do farm 3 acres of cherries on city land, and 10 acres of apricots at the Community Center.
                    And Novakovich Orchards in Saraoga is still holding on.

                    Other than that, I think you'd have to move farther south to find stone fruit growers, such as:

                    Andy' s Orchard in Morgan Hill,
                    Van Dyke in Gilroy,
                    Buckley in Gilroy, (U-pik)
                    Apricot KIng in Hollister

                    btw - Buy Local. Buy Fresh. support your local farmer, otherwise they will be a thing of the past !!