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Where to find frozen tart cherries in MSP?

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I recently visited my sister in Milwaukee and she had a large container of frozen tart cherries from Door County's Seaquist Orchards. I'm kicking myself now that I didn't buy some while I was there because I want to use some for canning.

Has anyone seen these frozen tubs of tart cherries at any Twin Cities stores? Or even seen fresh tart cherries for sale anywhere? It seems like I see WI Bing and Rainier cherries but I assume those are both considered sweet varieties.

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  1. A thread from last year suggests to me that there may not be a local source: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/543017

    There were several mail-order sources suggested in the thread.

    Perhaps someone has an update.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bob s

      Thanks for the link, Bob! Who knew they'd be so tricky to get here, when you can buy huge frozen buckets of them in WI. I'll keep looking...

    2. I know I've seen them frozen at Kowalskis in the past. Definitely Door County sour cherries. Haven't looked there for them recently.

      But these are relatively small bags, not big tubs.

      Looks like that web site Earthy.com will ship fresh ones in 3 pound lots starting August 10. A bit pricey but . . . .

      1. I bought some from Seward last week. fresh, from WI.

        1 Reply
        1. re: getgot211

          Seward didn't have any this weekend. Mississippi Market had those small packages, not too many, I bought most of em.

          made some jam and ice cream. put the rest in vodka.

        2. I've seen frozen Door County tart cherries at Seward. And if you want another way to consume your cherries, try the tart cherry juice in jars at Local D'Lish. I've become addicted to the stuff.

          Anne

          1 Reply
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            P.S. I bought the last jar of cherry juice tonight from Local D'Lish. They say they'll have more next week. But if you're there looking this weekend, it's not a wasted trip - pick up some of those wonderful Nicole's Crackers!

            Anne

          2. saw some fresh tart "pie" cherries at mill city farmer's market last year. not yet, this year. iirc, expensive :(

            1 Reply
            1. re: soupkitten

              'cherries' are listed on the 'Produce Planner' on the site but I didn't see any last week.

            2. I thought the tart cherry season would be almost over if not over. But the Earthy site indicates they are going to start shipping next week.

              So it may very well be possible to find more of the fresh ones at the farmers market. I know I have seen them sometimes in past years. They definitely do not travel or keep well. But if you keep a look out for them and are ready to can or freeze them right away, you may be in luck. May be possible to get them in quantity at a better price.

              6 Replies
              1. re: karykat

                Thanks for all of the tips, guys! I totally lucked out tonight - when I walked into Mississippi Market's Selby Ave store tonight, they were selling fresh Door County sour cherries from Barnard Farm right at the door. Score! I bought 2 1.5 lb. packages but I think I'm going back tomorrow for more.

                1. re: Amy P.

                  Now that they are coming in, I may try to replicate my grandmother's sour cherry kuchen.

                  Maybe after the heat spell passes that's coming up.

                  1. re: karykat

                    I was at Mississippi Market and checked out the tart cherries. I'm suspecting these are balaton cherries that are now being grown in Door county. They are a darker burgundy color not the bright red we think of for sour cherries. From the Earthy site, I learned that these were grown in Hungary. The site says too that you don't have to add as much sugar with these. I hope that doesn't mean they are too sweet. Because we want them tart.

                    The sour cherry season is coinciding with these spell of hot weather. May make some chutneys or a cold soup, but am tempted to fire up the oven for a cobbler or something.

                    This is the best time of the year!

                    1. re: karykat

                      Yeah, I was confused because the color of the cherries was darker than I expected. They did taste more tart than the Bing and Rainier cherries, though. (I don't have a basis for comparison not having had the other kind fresh. )
                      This morning I made the Door County Sour Cherry Preserves from the Artisan Bread in Five Mins a Day cookbook; it turned out very tasty and had a lovely bright red color. I took lots of pics while I made the recipe and will probably post them in my Green Your Plate blog next week sometime.

                      A cold cherry soup sounds excellent! You'll have to let me know what you think of the cherries.

                      1. re: Amy P.

                        I will! I have the 5-minute-a-day book too, so I'm going to check out that recipe for preserves.

                        The book is by local authors, by the way (which everyone probably knows already).

                        1. re: karykat

                          I ended up emailing the produce manager. Nick, at Miss Market and confirmed that they are in fact the Balaton variety, not Montmorency.

                          He said "These tarts are a later season then the Montmorency. The Balatons are easier to ship as they are not quiet as soft as the Montmorency. I hope to receive more tart cherries this week, it depends on how they survived the rain storms that passed through the area last weekend."

              2. I got my big box of Michigan sour cherries in from Afton Apple about two weeks ago. I've ordered them through Afton almost every year for the past six. We baked, ate our fill (we like them tart), I made a small batch of cherry almond preserves, and I've got twelve 1.5 quart bags stowed in the freezer.

                Call Afton and get your name on the list for next year; they send out order forms each spring. For cherries (both sour and sweet), blueberries, and peaches, all from Michigan.

                4 Replies
                1. re: clepro

                  I saw that one has to pick them up at Afton Apple. Anyone know of places closer to Plymouth doing this type of thing. I thought the prices of about $1/pound were reasonable (but not when drive time and transportation costs are added in).

                  1. re: clepro

                    Were those the bright red ones or the darker red sours (probably Balaton)?

                    Parenthetically, what do you put in your cherry almond preserves? Thinking of using mine to make some jam?

                    1. re: karykat

                      Sorry, just saw your post and question. They were the bright red ones.
                      re: what I put into my cherry almond preserves: nothing except cherries, almond extract, and sugar!

                      1. re: clepro

                        I'm going to make a mental note to check in with Afton Orchards next year. I liked the darker red Balaton cherries this year, but think the bright red ones still fill the bill for me. They're what I picture when I think of a good cherry pie or jam. So thanks for the tip.

                        And everyone who likes sour cherries should also try the Balatons next year. Apparently, they travel better so they will be more available for those of us who like the sour cherries.

                  2. FYI - Mississippi Market Selby store has the Balaton tart cherries back in stock today. Also, the first Michigan peaches and apricots. The cherries are sold in smaller containers this time.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Amy P.

                      I am just finishing the cobbler I made with the Balatons I bought last week at MM. A little less tart than the Montmorencies. I would use a tad less sugar next time (cause I like em tart.)