Fresh Sweet Cherries?
Once again, I am disappointed by the fresh cherries in local markets. I've bought cherries this season, so far, at WholeFoods, Fairway, ShopRite (Commack), FoodEmporium (possibly all from the same source in Western USA), and yesterday, from a farmer at Union Square Greenmarket.
The Greenmarket sweet cherries (from Terhune) were the most disappointing of all since they looked so perfectly shiny and unblemished: They tasted almost bitter. (Locust Grove also had cherries but I did not try them, as I had seen the Terhune stand first)
The supermarket cherries suffered from the usual plagues of mealiness and lack of taste. There is a slight telltale wrinkling of the skin on many supermarket cherries that I have learned (the hard way) to avoid. But even though I did not see this, the cherries were not worth the prices, which ranged from $4.99 to $7.99 a pound. Surprisingly, or not, Fairway prices (Plainview store) were the highest of the three markets I visited int he past 10 days or so. (Each time I reach the counter, the checkout person advises me that "the cherries are very expensive'a re you sure you want them?"
Have yet to try the cherries from local street vendors and from Chinatown.
Is this a poor cherry season? Has anyone else had similar experiences? Is there hope for me?
I bought cherries on Friday from two different farmers at the W97th St greenmarket. The ones from Locust Grove are much darker red and pretty good. Sweet but not really really sweet. Certainly not bitter. The ones from Kernan were a lighter red and a litter firmer. The Kernan ones were much sweeter. Locust Grove sells by the pint at $5 each (if I recall correctly) while Kernan's is by the pound - $5.99/lb (again, if I'm recalling correctly).
I generally don't even try supermarket cherries so I have nothing to compare there.
The cherry crop was wiped out in the NE this year - early very warm weather followed by deep frosts and cold weather. There aren't any out here in Western NY State and the pie lady says there won't be any cherry pies this summer. The apricot crop was also destroyed. And the strawberry crop is smaller than usual.
Just bought cherries for $2 /lb from Chinatown and they were great. One stand had them for $1 /lb!! but saw this after my purchase.
We also just bought some cherries in Chinatown. White cherries. $5 for 2lbs. They were good. Not peak of the season good but all were plump and mostly sweet. Good luck on the cherry hunt.