California stone fruit season usually gets going in the beginning of May with the local cherry crop. The lack of a robust cherry crop the past few years in the Bay Area due to warm winters and drought summers has really slowed down production of one of the best fruit crops know to humankind. With this being said, this year’s local cherry crop is off to an amazing start and we are so excited to celebrate these amazing farms and all different cherry varieties they grow.
From now until July, Hidden Star Orchards in Linden brings us organic cherries straight from their orchard twice a week. Johan at Hidden Star is like the “Cherry Whisperer,” he always harvests beautiful cherries right when they are peaking in flavor. Hidden Star just started harvesting the Brooks cherry, a dark red cherry that is super juicy. This will be followed by the firm Bing cherry, which is considered one of the sweetest red cherries, but also with a little tang to the flavor. The yellow and red-skinned Rainier cherry just hit our shelves and this large but delicate cherry has a sweet white flesh and is always a special treat. Hidden Star will finish out the cherry season with lesser-known varieties like the Larian and Red Lac cherry. Now is the time for cherry lovers to come by the Markets and sample this special crop.
At Bi-Rite we pride ourselves on building relationships with the farmers who grow our food, so whenever we have the opportunity for a new relationship we get very excited! This spring, we’re fortunate enough to start getting local cherries from the Chinchiolo Family Farms in the San Joaquin County. This is a fourth-generation family farm that focuses on apples and cherries. Just this past week we received our first delivery of Red Coral sweet cherries and they did not disappoint! The Chinchiolo family grows a firm cherry that has a sweet tangy flavor with plenty of juice. This week they are harvesting the Bing cherry which will be at both Markets for the next week.
This is a really fun time of year at the Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop with all local stone fruit and berries to cook with. One of the most labor intensive crops to work with in the kitchen is cherries! Team Cream organized a couple group cherry pitting days where 500 pounds of cherries were hand pitted and cooked down in less than a week. All this hard work will be turned into the seasonal release of the Cherry Almond Ice Cream, available only at the Creamery and Scoop Shop within the next couple weeks – keep an eye out for this once-a-season treat!