We begin the countdown to cherry season, only 5 weeks away to the mid-July Rainier and Skeena cherry crop!
The organic cherries from Danny and Miranda’s Just-a-Mere Organic Farm in BC are quite possibly the best cherries on earth. Available in three varieties (Rainier, Skeena, Sweethearts) and only at The Organic Box. Yet another reason to encourage your friends to sign up for the summer! In this two-part newsletter, we explore just what makes these cherries so special.
Rainier cherries are candy sweet and delicate with a yellow colour and red blush. We have 475 Rainier cherry trees on our farm. Imagine the most coveted variety of cherry organically-grown in the most beautiful setting. They are our prettiest and largest cherries (as big as toonies!) but are also the most sensitive to temperature, wind and rain. The Rainier shows bruising easily so we handle this cherry with care. When we started working the orchard, the trees were overgrown and infected with bacterial canker (a disease of the stems and leaves common to fruit trees). It has been an arduous but worthwhile task to reshape and restore them through pruning. If you have not tried an organic Rainier cherry from our farm you are missing something truly special.
Skeena cherries are a dark red to almost black variety with a lovely dense, firm texture and a well-balanced sweet-sharp flavour that leads to non-stop eating. We have 936 Skeena cherry trees, ranging in age from 15 to 25 years old, some of the oldest on the farm. These cherries are susceptible to rain splitting during the ripening stage. We apply mineral sprays (on the Canadian Organic Standards approved substances list) during and following rainfalls to diminish the incidence of splitting (every time it rains our Farm Manager, Margaret, jumps onto the tractor). The minerals deposited on the fruit surface absorb the water and save these big dark red jewels from splitting after a rainfall.
Sweetheart cherries are a bright red, heart-shaped cherry with a mild, sweet flavour and firm texture. We have 155 Sweetheart cherry trees on our farm, which have ornamental features and are the last of our three varieties to mature, likely in the second week of August. Sweethearts tend to develop large clusters of fruit so the crop load must be pruned back each year in order to prevent over-bearing and small fruit size. We removed a number of trees diseased with bacterial canker and nursed the rest of the orchard back to health. Our reward is these brilliant red heart-shaped trophies.