Types of Cherries
A healthy variety of cherry. Great for juices and cooking.
This is the traditional cooking cherry, once picked it needs to be pitted and frozen or canned within 24 hours. This job is made easy now that we have a large commercial pitter!
Customers are able to pick the cherries and have them washed and pitted right here on the farm in just minutes, making them ready to throw in the freezer for spectacular cherry desserts all winter.
Nothing tastes more homemade than a dessert with these fresh cherries, and now they are so easy to use. Thankfully, we harvest and freeze at peak season so our customers can enjoy them year ’round. We offer pitted, frozen tart cherries in our markets or you can get them shipped directly to your door.
More and more research is demonstrating the extraordinary health benefits of tart cherries. Read more about health and nutritional profile of Montmorency tart cherries.
Balaton Tart Cherries (Baker's Cherries)
This is an old variety from Hungary, where it is called Ujfehertoi Furtos. It is a recent introduction to Michigan, where it shows promise. The Balaton was introduced here in the U.S. by Dr. Amy Iezzoni of Michigan State University, who found it in Hungary when she was searching for new genetic resources for her tart cherry breeding program. The cherry is larger, firmer, and they ripen a week later than Montmorency cherries.
These are the only tart cherries we are able to ship fresh due to their firm and hearty quality. These are available fresh from about mid July – early August. Once cherry season is over, we’ll have IQF (individually quick frozen) Balaton tart cherries for sale in our stores, and for shipping during the winter months.
Balaton cherries are a bit sweeter than Montmorency tart cherries (classic sour or pie cherries). They are also firmer, with darker flesh and juice. Many bakers like Balatons for their rich ‘sweet-tart’ flavor, and because they maintain their shape during cooking. They’re also great for traditional Hungarian Sour Cherry Soup (Meggyleves), Cherry Jam, and if you dare, home-made Morello Cherry Liquor, also known as Wisniowka or Vishnovka.
Dark Sweet Cherries from Northern Michigan
Everyone’s favorite cherry to eat out of hand. This Northern Michigan favorite is available throughout the month of July. This cherry is the premier u-pick cherry. During a “good season”, branches will be roped with fruit and families are able to fill buckets quickly and effortlessly. They keep for two weeks or so when stored in your refrigerator.
Our early to mid-season black sweet cherry, Cavalier is a terrific black sweet cherry with medium to large fruit. This is our favorite u-pick variety.
Ulster, a later cherry, is very sweet and firm. It is a cross between the varieties Schmidt and Lambert. According to Bob, a cherry connoisseur in the Torch Lake area, it is northern Michigan’s best cherry.
New Varieties Emerging
In the last few years, we have invested in new Dwarfing Sweet Cherry varieties. It is our hope that we can offer a premier u-pick experience with these trees as well as a premier cherry.
Sweet cherry blossoms on the tree in the U-Pick section at King Orchards.
Light Sweet Varieties
An old favorite for fans of light sweet cherries, this variety is a nice yellow cherry with a bright red side.
A large yellow cherry with a red blush, Rainier is an offspring of the Bing. Developed in Washington state, these cherries have a sweet and delicate flavor.
We grow these yellow medium-sized cherries for the commercial market. This is the variety that becomes the Maraschino cherries you buy at the store.