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Fresh Sour Cherries (Where to find?)

I started baking again, and long for cherry pie, so I'm looking for the pails of fresh sour cherries that usually turn up in July, so I can freeze them for use during the year. Does anyone know where I can find them, and if Organic ones are available? I used to get them at Dominion, but that's going back 5 years or so.

Secondly, has anyone who makes cherry pie used the jarred ones instead of fresh ones? How do they compare?



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  1. Montmorency cherries, the only tart cherries readily available in Ontario, only come out around mid-July. Your best place to find them would be at farmers' markets and at retail locations that make a point of sourcing local produce.

    Huge tubs of refrigerated fresh pitted cherries are seasonally available at some grocers and supermarkets. You usually have to ask the produce manager to bring them from the back for you (if they carry them at all). Here's more information, from the Ontario Tender Fruit Producers: http://www.ontariotenderfruit.com/ind... Note that I know of one highly respected (and not overpriced) independent, one-off supermarket in Toronto that will be carrying these but they're not on the list of retailers. (Sorry, but the moderators don't allow me to mention the names of certain stores because of a business connection.)

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tatai

      Bah!! Not fair! I'm new here, but I don't see any facility here to privately send email to a list member, huh? Not like Zmail on Recipezaar?

      Thanks so much for the information and link, I'll wade through those and start calling the ones in my area.

      1. re: Katzen

        In past years, I've seen them at Loblaws. We did have to ask though.

        1. re: SusanB

          I got a bucket at Loblaw's Superstore last year (Don Mills and Eglinton). They were in the produce section. The sugar level was perfect for a pie with streusal topping.

    2. As I was leaving Food Basics a few days ago, there was a sign at the door indicating that you had to place an order for the cherries with the produce manager. They always bring in a few extra pails but by placing an order you won't miss out.

      1. Fresh is better, but it's been so long since I've had a cherry pie with fresh cherries that I'm not sure I could honestly tell you how much better. Cooking fresh cherries does however in my opinion remove some of the advantage that fresh cherries have over canned.

        1. Highland Farms carries large pails of cherries, sour followed by sweet, in season.
          They are lightly processed and fresh frozen (pitted, and slightly sweetened).
          They sell out quickly, so it is best to ask a manager when they will available.
          Some addresses below:

          Highland Farms Supermarkets
          4750 Dufferin Street North York ON

          Highland Farms
          850 Ellesmere Rd, Toronto, ON M1P, CA

          Highland Farms Supermarkets
          Lawrence av E Bennett Toronto ON

          1 Reply
          1. The buckets are available as of today at the Don Mills and Eglinton Superstore! And I have to say, contrary to some recent threads on Loblaw's, the staff I spoke to yesterday were very helpful and able to let me know they would be available this morning, which they were before 9am. The timing was crucial for me because we're out of town for the next 2 weeks. Now I can make pies at the cottage :)

            9 Replies
            1. re: julesrules

              ...and at Highland Farms as of last night. Got a 4.5 kilo bucket for $16.99.

              1. re: Wahooty

                Well that does beat Loblaw's at $19.99

                1. re: julesrules

                  Last year I got mine from Valumart for $11.99, perhaps the sour cherry crop is as weak as the strawberries and raspberries?

                  Wholesale Ont raspberries were $21/flat last year, $40 this year.

                  1. re: bogie

                    The cherry crop this year was, indeed, a bust. One cherry farm I know of only produced about 50% of its expected harvest. That is undoubtedly why the price is so high this year.

                  2. re: julesrules

                    Loblaw's at Bayview and Moore had them last night.

                  3. re: Wahooty

                    Which Highland Farms, Wahooty? I purchased a couple of pails of sour cherries yesterday at the location on Dufferin south of Steeles for $19.99. (If anyone's interested, they are also selling pails of sweet black cherries @ $24.99/pail.)

                    It has been a lousy year for local fruit: too much rain and too little heat, which probably accounts for the prices.

                    1. re: Tatai

                      Kennedy and Ellesmere. The sign said $19.99, but they rang up $3 cheaper - the cashier even did a double take. So it's probably an error that may or may not be fixed by now. :) They also have quarts and big baskets of unpitted pie cherries, if you prefer them in smaller doses...I think the quarts were $5.99.

                      1. re: Wahooty

                        Yes, I noticed huge baskets of fresh sour cherries @ $29.99/basket! What we got is probably a much better deal considering the weight of the pits.

                        By the way, for anyone considering buying the sour cherries: They're available either sugar-free or with 10% sugar added, same price for both. I prefer to pay only for cherries and add my own sugar as required.

                        1. re: Tatai

                          Ah, but there are applications for which you need the pits. :) But yes, I think we came out ahead in terms of most cherry for the dollar.

                2. We bought ours tonight at our local Sobeys. $19.95 was not a mistake. We paid that for a 4.5K pail - Ontario produce. And get this - "No Sugar" - which used to mean a farm run for us.

                  This was "Packed for Sobeys" so should be available chain wide.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: DockPotato

                    I just opened one of my pails. The tart, no-sugar cherries are delicious! I was afraid I'd have to add lots of sugar to make pies with these, but they're not as sour as I thought they'd be.

                    From one pail, I got a little over 5 quarts of fruit and 2 cups of juice (which is a great bonus -- it's delicious and very healthful). I'm freezing the cherries in 4-cup (1 quart) packages, as recommended on the pail; each package would be good for one pie.

                    1. re: Tatai

                      Suggest you ignore the bucket label in the future and package according to your recipes, Tatai. We use ours through the year for cold cherry soup, pie, cobblers and crisps, so package accordingly with labels. We too love the tartness and generally halve the amount of sugar called for in recipes.

                      I'm puzzled why sugar is even added when processing the buckets.

                      1. re: DockPotato

                        I just got my bucket today.

                        If you get a chance, do you think you could share your cobbler and crisp recipes on the Home Cooking board?

                        My favourite recipes are the Cherry Vanilla pie from Epicurious and Mollie katzen's "Sunlight Cafe" Cherry Ricotta Muffins.

                  2. Last week, I went to Weiland's cherry farm in Fonthill and picked two 6 quart baskets of sour cherries for a total of $12. They were just beautiful and delicious. It took a couple of hours of pitting with my leifheit cherry pitter, but they are now frozen in pie quanity bags and ready for winter.

                    1. There were lots of fresh sour cherries at the SLM north market this past Saturday. Sorry, but, I did not notice a price.

                      1. Hi Every one, any idea where to go for sour cherry picking in Ontario?...thanks