Cherries Harvest Schedule

Montmorency Cherries
(Sour, Tart or "Pie" Cherries, also called "The Healing Fruit")

Available for U-Pick or
"Already Picked For You"

Approximate Harvest Dates: EARLY JULY

About Montmorency Cherries:
Tart cherries, also known as sour, or pie cherries, are best known as the key ingredient in desserts. They are also delicious in main courses, salads, jams & jellies and beverages. Tart cherries are seldom sold fresh in your local grocery store, so consider yourself lucky if you live near a cherry orchard!! Montmorency is the most popular of the sour cherry varieties, providing 95% of the sour cherries on the market. This cherry has been cultivated and available for U-Pick at Hicks Orchard for more than a century! (see OUR STORY for Hicks Orchard history)

Montmorency cherries also pack a health-promoting punch. That's because these ruby-red cherries are bursting with antioxidants that may relieve the pain of arthritis and gout and may help prevent cancer and heart disease.

The latest research shows that Montmorency cherries have high ORAC (oxygen radical absorption capacity) values. These high ORAC values reflect the many natural compounds in tart cherries that have antioxidant properties. Tart cherries have a range of 1,700 to 12,800 ORAC un;its per 100 grams. Other fruits that have been tested range from 700 to 5,700 ORAC units per 100 grams. Nutritionists suggest that people consume 3,000 to 5,000 ORAC units per day to have an impact on health.

Melatonin, a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals and may help prevent or reduce brain deterioration asscoiated with aging, also is present in significant quantities in tart cherries.

There also are three powerful anthocyanins in tart cherries. These anthocyanins have the potential to prevent inflammation and may inhibit the growth of cancer tumors. Anthocyanins are reported to have 10X the power of aspirin to help in reducing inflammation and the pain of arthritis and gout. These same anthocyanins also may protect artery walls from the damage that leads to plaque and heart disease. In fact, the research whows that anthocyanins do a better job of protecting arteries than vitamins C and E. For more information on the health benefits of Montmorency cherries go to www.usacherries.com.

Picking Information:
We grow Montmorency Cherries on dwarf trees and semi dwarf trees for easy picking. We also have a few rows of Danube and Balatin cherries, which are a sweeter sour cherry. All cherries are sold "by the pound". You can save a few cents by bringing your own container to pick into, just have it weighed in the Apple Barn before you go to the orchard.

The best way to pick cherries is to pinch the top of the stem where it meets the branch and pluck downward quickly. Leaving the stems on the cherries will keep them fresh for up to a week in your refridgerator. If you do pick cherries without the stems on, be sure to use the cherries within the day as they will turn brown at the stem hole.

Pitting Cherries:
There are a few varieties of "Cherry Pitters" on the market. We have tried them all and found that the ones which allow a tray full of cherries to line up and be pitted by a spring loaded puncher work the best. We try to have this model available for sale in the Apple Barn. Otherwise, an ordinary paperclip works just fine. Just open the paperclip once. Push the smaller curve into the stem hole and it will fit perfectly around the pit as you pull it out.

Remember, pitting cherries goes faster when you pit with a friend, on the porch in a comfy chair with your feet up, a tall glass of lemonade at the ready, each of you with a big bowl of cherries on your lap.

Freezing Cherries:
Wash, stem, dry and pit cherries. Add approx. 1/2 cup sugar to 1 quart cherries in a freezer bag. Leave appropriate head room, seal and freeze. You may also add less sugar if you use ascorbic acid (sold as "Fruit Fresh" in the grocery store). The sugar and ascorbic acid help preserve the red color AND the flavor of the cherries in the freezer. Cherries frozen without adding the above will turn brown and be tasteless after freezing.