Sour Cherry tasting in California?

I’m researching sour cherry varieties for growing in California, Bay Area, for fresh eating. I’ve read about Hungarian and Duke varieties, however, it would be great to actually taste the fruit. Hence the question: is there any sour cherry tasting anywhere in California (presumably when life returns to semi normal)? Another, related question is with sourcing of the trees, though I realize I’m too late this year. If anyone has experience growing any of these in Bay Area, I would love to hear how the trees are bearing for you.

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I am growing a Morello Sour Cherry here in california which does well. I usually cook the cherries though you can eat them fresh. I haven’t tried Hungarian or Duke so I don’t know how to compare. I don’t know anywhere that does sour cherry testing, they are hard to find here even to buy. That is why I endup growing my own.

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The other factor is when they are picked. If you can beat the birds and somehow keep them on the tree a long time they get sweeter.

The commercial tart cherries often are picked earlier.

I don’t know a good solution but growing English Morello and grafting test branches is the option I plan on trying.

Andy Moriani (search for Andy Moriani’s orchard in Morgan Hill) usually had Hungarian cherries (Danube, Balaton, and Jubileum) in one of his summer tasting. These tastings are very popular with the Bay Area crowd, but not sure whether they will happen this year due to you know what.

I’m in Tracy and grow a number of European varieties as well as Canadian bush cherry varieties. Among the European varieties I have Lutowka (it’s basically the same as English Morello aka Schattenmorelle), Balaton (Újfehértói fürtös) and Jubileum (Érdi Jubileum), all planted in 2016, Danube (Érdi bőtermő) and Kansas Sweet, both grafted in 2019 and planted this year. I also had very little success with grafting tart cherry varieties from the NPGS collection in Geneva. In my first attempt, a few years ago, all grafts and Krymsk-5 rootstocks under them died. This year, Pamyati Vavilova on Krymsk-5 and on Balaton, and Favorit on Balaton seem alive and doing ok, but several others died.

Among Canadian bush cherries (Prunus cerasus x P. fruticosa), I have multiple bushes of Carmine Jewel, Juliet, and Romeo (some planted in fall 2015 and some in fall 2016), and one Crimson Passion (one survived out of three).

In 2019, Lutowka for the first time produced a non-negligible amount of fruit for me (Stan's harvest diary 2019 - #39 by Stan), while Balaton and Juliet had a few cherries each. This year, Lutowka, Balaton, Juliet, and Carmine Jewel each produced a decent amount.

In my location, all tart cherry trees struggle during the summer heat, and I had many trees and grafts that did well in spring and then died in the middle of the summer. Balaton seems to do better than Jubileum, both in growth and production. Juliet seems to be the healthiest and most vigorous among the bush cherries. Lutowka does pretty well, but the fruit it produces is mostly for processing, it would be too tart for fresh eating for most people. Many people in the Bay Area grow English Morello because Dave Wilson trees are sold in many local nurseries. It’s basically the same as Lutowka.


Thank you for the wealth of information. Called Andy’s orchard and ordered a pound of each sour cherry that are coming up. The timing seems perfect as they are expected in the next couple of weeks. That will be my tasting. :wink:

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