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When are Cherries in Season?

When is cherry season?

Some fruits never seem to disappear from store shelves. Apples, oranges, peaches, bananas, and other fruits are available all year. However, cherries are rare and they will quickly disappear from the market.

Cherries are only available for a short period of time each year. So, if you want to eat some, you’ll need to know when they’re available. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get your hands on these tasty treats. We’ll talk about when are cherries in season so that you can get them at the right time.

Varieties of Cherries

Fresh cherries come in two varieties – sweet and sour. The majority of the cherry market is made up of sweet cherries. They’re the cherries you’ll find in the supermarket. They’re juicy and sweet, and perfect for eating out of hand, as the name implies.

Bing, which are firm and dark, and Rainier, which have thin, yellow-red skin and mild yellow flesh, are the most well-known sweet cherry varieties in the United States.

Tart cherries and pie cherries are other names for sour cherries. In late May and early June, they are harvested. The state of Michigan produces the majority of the country’s sour cherries, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to sweet cherry production.

Fresh sour cherries are extremely unlikely to be found in stores or even farmer’s markets because they don’t hold up well during shipping. Almost all of them end up being frozen, canned, or juiced. If you like cherry pie and come across some fresh sour cherries, take them! We prefer them fresh from the tree because they seem to taste sweeter, but they still pack a punch.

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Cherry Season

Ripe cherries are available beginning in April and finishing in July or August. Unlike other stone fruits (peaches, nectarines, etc.), they transport well and frequently reach in stores within two days of being picked. This means that high-quality cherries should be available in any section of the country.

Cherries only ripen on the tree. They don’t have much time to acquire a complete flavor or become extremely sweet when picked early. Furthermore, when cherries are plucked, their sugars are converted to starch. This results in a loss of sweetness over time, which can be mitigated by refrigerating them.

From May to August, sweet cherries, including the famed Bing and Rainier types, are available.

Sour cherries, also known as tart cherries, have a significantly shorter growth season and are only available for a week or two, usually in the middle of June in warmer locations and as late as July and August in colder areas.

When are Cherries in Season in Different States?

While the Pacific states produce the majority of the country’s cherry, cherries are also grown in other parts of the country. In fact, Michigan produces nearly all of the commercially farmed sour or pie cherry in the United States.

Sour cherries are usually ready around July 4th, with the harvest lasting until the end of the month. The National Cherry Festival is held every year in Traverse City, Michigan. Below is a list that shows when cherries are in season in different states.

State Cherry Season
Utah June
Wisconsin July to August
Illinois Mid June to late July
Indiana Mid June to late July
Iowa Mid June to late July
New Jersey Mid June to late July
Maine Mid July to mid August
Pennsylvania Mid June to late July
New York Mid June to late July
Virginia Late May to mid July
Ohio Mid June to late July
Washington Early June to late August
California Early May to mid June
Oregon Early June to late August
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Timeline of Cherry Season

Season Begins

  • Cherries start arriving in stores in early May
  • Prices of these cherries is extremely high

Rainer Cherries

  • These light colored sweet cherries start in late May from California and late June from Washington.
  • Best prices are available around 4thof July

Bing Cherries

  • The harvest of Bing cherries starts in early June
  • Prices are best when these cherries arrive in the market

Washington Cherries

  • Washington is the top cherry growing state
  • The season beings in June and peaks in July with Bing and other types

Seasons Ends

  • California cherry season ends in June
  • Washington cherry season ends in late August

Final Thoughts

Cherries don’t stay in the market for long and if you want to buy some, you should hit the store as soon as they arrive. To get your hands on the best ones, look for shiny skins with green stems attached. Overripe cherries will have wrinkles and you need to steer clear of them.

If you plan to store the cherries of a long time, consider freezing them as this would allow the cherries to last for 6 months or up to a year.

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