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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, www.andysorchard.com
                    Van Dyke in Gilroy, www.vandykeorganics.com
                    Buckley in Gilroy, (U-pik) www.buckleycherries.info
                    Apricot KIng in Hollister www.apricotking.com

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

                  2. Island Pacific Supermarket on Springs Road in Vallejo has a sale on bing cherries this week for $1.49/lb. The cherries are big, dark red, crisp, sweet and juicy. Yum!

                    1. Any good cherry sightings in the north bay/Sonoma county area? I'm really craving them!

                      Saw an ad for Lola's recently for $1.99/lb (I think) but haven't checked them out yet. Wasn't too impressed with the cherries that Andy's Produce had out at BeerFest either...but maybe they will get some better ones in soon...*crosses fingers*.

                      1. My favorite cherries that I've had this season have been the Chelan cherries from one of the vendors at the Ferry Building (I don't know the name of the vendor, but on Tuesdays if you're facing the building, they're on the left side, the closest stone fruit vendor to the middle). What an amazing variety; really dark fruits, the perfect blend of sweet and tart, with a great flavor. The vendor told me that last year was the first year that they had this variety, and that a lot of chefs are loving them; indeed, I chatted with a chef from Nopa last week who was buying a lot. The vendor said today that this his the last week for them, so I'd look for them at the FPFM on Saturday, or for that variety at other markets, if other farmers are growing them.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: JasmineG

                          Funny! I just bought some of those Chelan cherries from that vendor -- its Hidden Star Orchards (most of the year they just have apples). You're right: the Chelans are delicious: a little more acidic/tart, which brings out the cherry flavors more. Warning: if you're a super-sweet fruit person, you probably won't like these as much as Jasmine and I do.

                        2. I had some very good organic Bings from Kashiwase Farms in Winton, bought on Saturday at the Berkeley farmers' market. They were bought by someone else, so I don't know the price.

                          1. It's cherry season again! And I just had to comment on this to note that I'm so relieved to have a good explanation for why so many of my cherries (bought from the Mission for the incredible price of $1 for 3 pounds) are conjoined.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sugar and Spice

                              Yesterday I stopped by CJ Olson's in Sunnyvale and picked up two new varieties for us: ruby and tavares. Both are dark, sweet, and juicy. $5.00 for a pint basket and worth every penny. They are having a cherry festival this weekend, which could be fun!

                            2. I just spoke with Missy Gotelli, of Joe Gotelli & Sons yesterday. They grow cherries as far south as Bakersfield, up through the valley and even in the state of Washington. Missy manages cherry sales at some 40 farmers markets through the Bay Area, Davis and Sacramento. Her season is from the first of May through end of June.

                              She had Golden Rainiers and Brooks available last week - the Brooks were super sweet -and no doubles in my basket - but Missy says they will probably only be available another week at most. She confirmed that her Brooks & Golden Rainiers were from Kern County.

                              When I asked her about the impact of our cool weather on her crop, she said that it didn't affect the cherries from Kern County, and the impact on crops further north was that rain damage (which causes cracking) was minimal, while the cooler weather allows the cherries to "size properly."

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: watercolor

                                i spoke to them at the JLS market this past sunday. The season ends around late June/early July.

                                1. re: watercolor

                                  I'm bummed that pretty much all the cherries on my backyard tree have cracked and now are rotting. I hope places outside of the bay area aren't as affected.

                                  1. re: Glencora

                                    mine (in Merced County) appear to be fine, although perhaps not quite ripe yet. no cracks though. And the best part is: we didn't even think the tree would produce! (when we bought the house a year ago we were told it was de-sexed, and it didn't produce last year-cherries need to be cross-polinated). But I guess some bee somewhere was very busy this year, and we are hoping to harvest this weekend!

                                    I did see cherries at the local Farmer's Market this weekend, from this area.

                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      cherries graft pretty easily, you could have a multi-variety tree in a couple of years.

                                      de-sexed? what is that???

                                      as an aside, here's a good page from Dave Wilson Trees' website about backyard fruit tree culture: http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/B...

                                      1. re: toodie jane

                                        'de-sexed' was the term the previous owner used to describe the fact that the tree didn't produce/reproduce....

                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                          love that site - thanks for posting it. A friend of mine in Napa told me about this technique and I plan to try it in my back yard.

                                  2. I was in Chinatown a few days ago and reds were 79¢ and Raniers were 99¢ a pound (and damn tasty!)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: CarrieWas218

                                      that's pretty cheap. Monterrey market has those at $1.29 and $1.49 today, respectively. When i went to the market this past weekend, raniers were at $4.25 and reds were at $3.50. At higher priced markets like Berkeley and SF, I imagine prices are higher.

                                    2. Duc Loi Supermarket in the Mission I bought Bing cherries pre-bagged for .69/lb and apricots pre-bagged for .69/lb Sun 5/30/10.

                                      Duc Loi Supermarket
                                      2200 Mission St, San Francisco, CA

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: hhc

                                        Any price updates in Chinatown or Mission?

                                        1. re: baron45

                                          Today, Rainiers were selling for 79 cents a pound on Stockton (near Pacific), 99 cents on Grant -- not pre-bagged.
                                          Red cherries (not sure what variety) were 55 cents a pound on Stockton.
                                          We bought the Rainiers and are currently enjoying them. Not the greatest cherries I've ever had, though.

                                      2. I've had some nice Brook cherries recently from Kaki at the Berkeley farmers' maarket. Sweet, a bit crisp, and pretty good flavor.