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Sour Cherries

Sour cherries have a pretty limited season, and I'm worried I'm missing it. Does anyone know of a place in Philadelphia to buy them? Last year I purchased them at the Top of the Hill produce market in Chestnut Hill. I haven't been out that way in a while and likely won't be due to the Lincoln Drive construction. If anyone has seen these cherries downtown I'd love to know where. And, as a caveat--I was thinking that sour cherry season hadn't started yet so I haven't been looking for them, but I've recently learned that it has started already, hence why I'm clueless about where they actually can be found this year. Thanks!

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  1. I saw them a couple weeks ago at the Elkins Park farmer's market, so likely the other farmer's markets have them as well. They probably also have them at Reading Terminal, though I haven't actually looked.

    1. Sour cherries have been out for a week or two. They have them (or did) at Fair Food Farms in the Reading Terminal, they also had them at the Tuesday farmers market at 5th and Passyunk and the Sunday market at Headhouse.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Bigley9

        Yes, I saw them at Fair Food @ Reading Terminal this week. The season is fast slipping (some orchards have run out), so I'd hurry and pick some up this weekend.

        1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

          I definitely will! I only bought one batch last year and made a fantastic cherry slab pie with them. I hope to stock up this year and freeze some for pies, etc. in the coming months.

      2. Thanks to both of you! I'll check Reading Terminal and Headhouse. I had suspected both places might have them but I appreciate the confirmation nonetheless!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Laura D.

          Found them at the Fair Food Farmstand on Saturday. $6/quart. Made a pie with an almond crumble. Incredible! I will now be keeping my eye out for these every summer!

          1. re: urbanfabric

            I was hoping to get to the Reading Terminal this afternoon after work but wound up getting stuck at the office until after closing time. Hopefully if I don't get over there one night this week I will get there on Saturday (and hopefully they'll still have the cherries).

        2. I've been buying them at the Clark Park Farmer's Market. Then I soak 'em in Maraschino liquor for my cocktails. My god they're tasty.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Boognish

            bought two pints yesterday at CP.

          2. The season locally has pretty much passed. It's only about 2 weeks long so you have to strike while he iron's hot. You can probably find NY ones around. Last year I got some at the Quakertown farmers' market.

            There are several orchards with sour cherries for next year. Solebury Orchards near New Hope and Meyer's up by Quakertown. I'm sure there are others, but I'm not sure.

            5 Replies
            1. re: JohnnyKBar

              Hmm, I'm surprised to hear that. The cherries I got last year must not have been local, then, since I didn't get them until on/after July 24, 2009 as the recipe that I used the cherries in wasn't published until that date. They were great though so I guess I'll aim for local next year but will take NY cherries this time around.

              1. re: Laura D.

                Cherry season started much earlier this year because of the weather.

                1. re: jennyjen

                  Makes sense given all of the discussion about other produce being early this year. Now only if my mind could catch up to the produce...

                  1. re: Laura D.

                    The Penn State Cooperative Extension in Bucks says cherries are end of June/beginning of July season. I think that Solebury Orchards had them PYO for $2.85/lb and Meyer's had them for $2/lb, but PYO. If you can find the Extension Fresh From The Farm booklets, they list all the farms, farmers' markets and PYO by county. I know that Bux & MontCo have them online, not sure about Philly or ChesCo.

                2. re: Laura D.

                  If they are at Fair Food farms or a farmer's market operated by the Farmers Trust they are local. can't sell NY Cherries at those spots

              2. One of the stands at the Headhouse Square Farmers Market had them yesterday (and several seeks prior).

                4 Replies
                1. re: Cruz

                  Didn't get to Headhouse this weekend (tried to drag the dog there after hitting the Piazza Market and he wouldn't have it). I will get there this weekend though I know it might be too late!

                  1. re: Laura D.

                    Beechwood still had them on Tuesday at the 5th and passyunk market!

                    1. re: Bigley9

                      Got out of work early enough today to get 3 quarts at the Fair Food Farmstand at Reading Terminal Market. I still might hit up Headhouse this weekend to get one of two more quarts, but I'm okay if this winds up being it for the season. Thanks to everyone for their help!

                      1. re: Laura D.

                        Glad you got them. I bought them on a fluke last year when I saw them at the Q-mart and was completely blown away just doing a simple sauce with them over pancakes. I have been trying to convince everyone I know that they are life altering.

                2. Hi everyone,

                  I'm again interested in buying a lot of sour cherries this year. However, it's not longer as easy for me to get to the Reading Terminal Market to see if they have them (that's where I wound up getting them last year). Has anyone seen them at RTM or anywhere else in the area for that matter? I want to make sure I don't miss the season!


                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Laura D.

                    I think it's probably another week or so yet but I'll report back at first sighting. Will you be able to get to any of the farmer's markets?

                    I bought my cherry pitter and ready to go....

                    1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                      Thanks! I definitely can get to the markets but I've moved out of the city so it isn't quite as easy for me to just wonder into a market like RTM to scope out the produce selection. I will happily make a special trip for the cherries, though!

                      1. re: Laura D.

                        I loaded up on mine at the Skippack Farmers Market last year.

                        The Stauffer Family that had them, they should be in season in the next couple of weeks. (I have one lone food saver sealed package in my freezer, I"m debating on what to do with it)

                        1. re: Laura D.

                          Found out this morning that the orchard stand at the small farmer's market in university city (corner of 36th and Walnut) expects to have them next week for about 3 weeks. I'll update next week about whether they actually have them!

                          1. re: Laura D.

                            Unfortunately the orchard stand didn't have them this week. They said the cherries weren't ready yet. I'm crossing my fingers they'll have them next week!

                            1. re: Laura D.

                              I finally stopped by the orchard stand at 36th and Walnut and they still had sour cherries. I picked up 3 quarts. I'm hoping I can control any future compulsions I have to buy more this year as 13 quarts should be plenty.

                    2. Talked with Frecon Farms people at a farmers market ; they said they will have Sour Cherries this week. It is a bit of a drive but if one takes the right roads( whatever that might be) it is a nice drive through the country side.

                      Here is a web site, www.freconfarms.com . They also have a good selection of other cherries.
                      An update note is that they have pick your own Sour Cherries starting Saturday (yesterday). Please do not go until I notify you that we have picked our allotment. Thanks

                      21 Replies
                      1. re: Bacchus101

                        If you want to go north rather than West, Solebury Orchards, outside of New Hope opens June 23, and will have pick your own cherries (sour and sweet) and blueberries. They are open Thursday to Sunday.


                        1. re: Bacchus101

                          Frecon Farms was at the Bryn Mawr Farmers/Growers market this past week. I asked them about sour cherries and they said they'd have them next week (possibly for only a week). They allowed me to reserve 8 quarts for pick-up next week and I'm extremely excited! I'll still report back about whether the University City market has any (as I might get a few quarts there too).

                          It does sound neat to pick your own cherries, though! Maybe my 9th, 10th, and 11th quarts will be acquired that way...

                            1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                              Thanks for mentioning this! I couldn't get out of the office to get to the University City market on Wednesday, but tomorrow is the day I pick up my 8 quarts at the Bryn Mawr market. If I'm unable to get more than the 8 quarts I ordered I might head down to the Reading Terminal for extras.

                              1. re: lowereastrittenhouse

                                I got two quarts yesterday at Weavers Way in Chestnut Hill. Pitted and froze them for that special dinner that needs a sour cream cherry crumb pie.

                                1. re: alonna Smith

                                  Were they local? The ones they have had the past few years at the Top of the Hill Market are from NY. I'm curious whether there is a noticeable difference in taste between the two.

                                  1. re: alonna Smith

                                    Could you possibly post that recipe on Home Cooking? That sounds like the dreamiest pie in the world to me. Thanks very much.

                                    1. re: buttertart

                                      Buttertart, here is the recipe I wanted to try:


                                      Then will add this almond crumble:


                                      Should be excellent! I lost my recipe and recently remembered I had gotten it from an old Joy of Cooking.

                                      1. re: alonna Smith

                                        I'm noting that for later in the season, when I might be able to persuade my husband the purist that some addition to straight sour cherry pie is a good idea. It sounds absolutely divine to me. Thanks very much.

                                        Re the crumble: there's a wonderful one in Jane Grigson's Fruit Book, no oats if I recall correctly. I have used it on cherry pie and it's great with it. I'll hunt it up and post it, too good not to share.

                                        1. re: alonna Smith

                                          I used that smitten kitchen recipe last year and it was divine, turned me on to sour cherries.

                                          I was hoping to get some in my Greensgrow CSA share today, but alas, no. They do say they have them in the market, so I'm hoping they're still there when I go to pick up my share.

                                          1. re: alonna Smith

                                            I checked out the smitten kitchen site; that's a really good food blog that has a nice mix of recipes. Right in my comfort zone. Thanks for posting. This recipe in particular looks divine: http://smittenkitchen.com/2009/07/sou... A little bit more involved than just a pie or crumb, but the added crust makes it somewhat appealing.

                                            1. re: genevapics

                                              Funny you identify this slab pie recipe. I saved it to my desktop last year, but have yet to attempt it.

                                              1. re: genevapics

                                                That's a great recipe...I've made it a few times. The only thing I would recommend is putting a baking sheet in the oven while the oven is preheating, and then putting the baking sheet with the pie right on top of the hot one so as to add an additional layer of heat/insulation for the bottom crust. Otherwise it seems to be a bit soggy.

                                                1. re: Laura D.

                                                  I am seeing pie recipes that blind bake for 15 minutes to avoid "soggy bottoms," as Julia C. would say.

                                                  1. re: alonna Smith

                                                    You could blind bake this one but I'm not sure that the bottom requires that much extra time/heat. I found that if I was careful how wet the cherry mixture was (I scooped it rather than poured it) and if I used the extra sheet pan trick my crust had the perfect amount of crispness.

                                                2. re: genevapics

                                                  if you have a few less cherries, I found a nice recipe to use up the rest
                                                  Sour Cherry Mascarpone Pound Cake
                                                  though it doesn't say, I would bake at 350
                                                  I"m making it today, I'll let you know how it turns out

                                                  1. re: cgarner

                                                    Thanks for the link. The recipe looks great and I'd love to hear how it comes out!

                                                  2. re: genevapics

                                                    Speaking of crumb crusts, I made Cooks Illustrated blueberry pie this weekend and instead of the lattice crust, I used smittenkitchen's almond crumble. This now my 'go to' pie topping! The added texture and flavor from the almonds was DIVINE!

                                                    1. re: alonna Smith

                                                      I decided instead to go for an old fashioned cherry pie,
                                                      6 cups pitted cherries
                                                      About 2 and a half (or so) cups sugar
                                                      5 Tablespoons corn starch
                                                      3 Tablespoons quick cooking tapioca
                                                      Pinch of salt
                                                      A dash of almond extract
                                                      Squeeze of lemon juice

                                                      Poured into bottom half of pie crust, dot with butter, cover with top half of crust, vent… brush with milk and sprinkle with Sugar in the Raw

                                                      Baked at 450… I don’t know how long… turned it down and baked it about another 15 minutes at 400… the filling turned out great, I can cut the pie without the ‘guts’ running all out, but then again it’s not so set up that it’s gummy or like jello in the middle
                                                      (I’m not a GREAT pie maker, so this was a real coup for me that it turned out so well)

                                                      1. re: cgarner

                                                        Congratulations! It is always a good feeling to produce a good pie. I don't know exactly why I've felt so daunted, but there are tricks to success.

                                                        1. re: alonna Smith

                                                          I'll never know why the expression is "easy as pie". It isn't!

                                      2. I grabbed three quarts at the Skippack Farmers Market yesterday! (now, for that recipe?)

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cgarner

                                          i got a few quarts at frecon the other day and used this recipe...
                                          my husband deemed it a success.....

                                          1. re: ilovesummer

                                            Greensgrow had them on the 25th. Looked great.

                                        2. I got 2 qts @ Zern's in Gilbertsville last weekend from the PA produce guy (sorry I can't be more specific but he is right near a corner) & paid $9. I made cobblers for our 4th of July right away but I will go back for a supply to freeze. They also have them at Suelke's on Old Rt. 309 near Sellersville, but I recognize these are far away for many people.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: dberg1313

                                            Fair Food Stand at the Reading Terminal Market still has sour cherries. I just got their weekly email.

                                          2. I wound up getting 10 quarts (ordered 8 and bought an extra 2 on the spot) from Frecon's stand at the Bryn Mawr Grower's Market. I'm glad I got extra as I probably threw out a total of 2-3 quarts due to mold, etc. This was probably my fault, as I waited to wash/pit/freeze them for 3 days after purchasing them. But, now I know that it's probably worth always buying extra since you're guaranteed to lose some. I haven't made anything yet but hope to get started this weekend.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: Laura D.

                                              Any idea if they will have cherries this weekend?

                                              1. re: genevapics

                                                I'm almost 100% sure they will not. Right before I ordered them I asked if they would have them for a few weeks (as most other places seem to) and he essentially said they'd be lucky if they had them for a few hours. I got the last two "loose" quarts last Saturday and I think that might have been it for the season. I never got to check the University City stand which was supposed to have them (I'll try to check this week though it is likely too late) but I wouldn't be surprised if RTM still has them as they had them later than others last summer. Hope you get some!

                                            2. Pete's produce had sour cherries today. I think they were $5.99 a quart. A far amount were there.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: FayeD

                                                Beechwood Orchards had flats of sour cherries on Saturday and said they'd have them again next week at the Swarthmore farmer's market (Sat 9:30-1:30). $30 flat (6 quarts) or 5.50 quart.