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Cherries with special flavors

Posted by Terence Welch 
Cherries with special flavors
October 22, 2013 08:06AM
I'm searching for varieties of cherries that have unusual flavors. Sugar, acid, and Bing style flavor are outrageous, of course. However, Ranier has a certain richness, and Black Tartarian when dead ripe has a certain spicy flavor that hits the tongue at the end. Can anyone suggest cherries with such unusual flavors, that could not just be labeled generically as "Cherries" in the produce department?
Re: Cherries with special flavors
April 20, 2018 10:29PM
Black Tartarian was my first thought as well.

We have what we think is a seedling of a Schmidt's Bigarreau (or just 'Schmidt's' or 'Smiths') - beautiful full, rich flavor, more than most I've had. It was noted ~100 years ago in 'Cherries of New York' as being underappreciated then. I think it's still not very widely grown (so far as I can see, at least).

(if you're still on here 5 years later!)

Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: Cherries with special flavors
March 25, 2021 11:55PM
Hey Josh,
Intrigued, I found “Cherry Smith” (backup singer for the Wailers,) “Schmidt’s cherry thing-a-lings,” (a cherry fritter in batesville, Indiana,) and a discontinued listing from Stark Bros, but not much else on your cherry.
How does it handle late frost? How about disease or cracking? Any leads on where I can find it or would you be willing to sell me some wood? We’re just getting started on the second half of our orchard this year and I’m looking for cherry advice, we’ve already got black gold, van, and bing in the nursery. With our pomes we focused on heritage varieties that had documented disease resistance and dessert qualities, but this goal has been harder to fill for stone fruits

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/31/2021 02:02PM by Prairie Sundance.
Re: Cherries with special flavors
April 11, 2021 08:27PM
Good questions. I may not have been clear -- we have 2 distinct though related varieties.

We have our original planting of Schmidt's Bigarreau from 1976 or so. It's one of 4 cherries left. They get brown rot so bad each spring that we haven't got a crop in 10+ years, at least. Partly due to years of not spraying + our very wet springs in many recent years (here in MD). So I can't really answer your question about late frost; but it's quite possible the late frost isn't doing the blossoms any favors in regards to the brown rot.

Meanwhile, what I'd posted was about a stand of volunteer cherries in our forest, about 200-300 feet away from the orchard. For years we just assumed they were just pretty cherries deposited by nature. It wasn't until we tasted the cherries, and were delighted to find out how delicious they were, that we put two and two together -- they are likely as not bird droppings from our orchards plantings. I'm pegging their parentage based on matching descriptions, but of course, it's just backyard guesswork. These volunteer cherries vary a bit in their expression (as seedlings do, of course), but overall they show very little disease of any sort, despite being totally ignored (or perhaps b/c of that winking smiley. They are also on the prototypical forest edge environment, and not part of a wider orchard monoculture, as well as being blessed with a seedling rootstock's vigor, both of which I'm sure also helps. However, the fruit are fairly small -- nothing as big as you see in commercial varieties. The flipside is the taste; I generally don't like cherries, but I love these. When fully ripe, they are also fairly soft -- so not great for massive handling. We've put them to best use, in our home setting, for cooking, saucing, popsicles, processing, etc.

Anyways -- happy to help spread either if it's possible. I assume it's too late in the year for wood, but we could try that next year. It's also easy to save seeds, if you have patience in that regard. winking smiley I'll connect via PM for deets.

As an aside, "Cherries of New York" is a great compendium of varieties, although I have no idea how hard it is to get (it was published around the turn of the century).

Zone 7a in West-Central MD
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