I have many favorite fruits but cherries hold a special place in my heart. Maybe it’s because their harvest period is relatively short; or maybe it’s because they just taste so good—whatever the reason, we’re now in the season of cherries.
I have to admit that California’s cherry season has not been as good as others in the past. We’ve seen good cherries start in May but this year the season really geared up in June. It was a late start for California stone fruit and we can blame the weather, specifically the rain. Cherries are extremely delicate fruits, and when they're exposed to rain near harvest, they can split and crack. This happens when the protective cuticle layer that contains natural waxes to keep moisture out has been stretched and thinned, which can be caused in two ways: Rain can pass through this thinned cuticle layer and swell the cherry past the breaking point until the skin cracks. This can also happen from inside when a tree absorbs too much water through its vascular system. Water management in fruit is an important and delicate balancing act. Too much water can damage fruits like cherries and dilute the taste. Some farmers will water as they get near harvest to gain size in fruit so that it looks appealing. If the fruit’s size hasn’t been planned through thinning (removing) fruit, rather than overwatering, then the growth from excess water just ends up diluting the sugars in the fruit rather than enhancing the taste. I find that small and medium-sized fruits contain better sugar concentrations and thus taste better.
The cherry season shifts by location very quickly. We are already coming to the end of the California cherry harvest. Fresh cherries will be coming from locations further north on the west coast, Washington specifically. On the east coast, we’ll have our first farm-direct cherries from Kauffman’s Fruit Farm in Pennsylvania and we should see mid-west cherries soon from the Michigan region. The harvest transitions mean that there may be some gaps in our regional cherry offerings so please visit our mix pages at fruitguys.com/mix to see what’s happening – they are updated daily.
Enjoy and be fruitful!
- Chris Mittelstaedt email@example.com