Cheers to cherry season: Sweet summer treat is ready to eat

A sure sign that summer has arrived are the stone fruits, including sweet cherries that are beginning to show up at local produce stands. Ashley Miller/Daily

STRASBURG – Cherries are officially in season.

Greta Liskey, of Woodbine Farm Market, said this year’s crop is small but is sweet and juicy.

“Cherries are a good kickoff to summer,” Liskey said. “Once you get past strawberries but before peaches, cherries are a good transition to get you in that summertime mood.”

Cherries are a stone fruit – the flesh and skin grow around a hard pit.  They come in over 900 varieties and are grown and consumed all around the world. Favorite cherry indulgences include fresh cherry crisp, cherry salsa and cherry daiquiris.

Picking season at Woodbine Farm Market began Friday and will continue through the end of the month. This year’s cherry season will be short, roughly lasting about two weeks. Liskey said that’s normal for this area.

“Not a lot of markets or farmers grow cherries here in the valley,” she said. “They can be pretty temperamental when they want to be.”

Liskey said Woodbine sells a few varieties during the growing season including Summit and Emperor Francis sweet cherries.

Demand for cherries at Woodbine is high. 

“Our customers appreciate the fact that they are locally grown right outside of Winchester,” she said. “So they haven’t been picked and then transported across the county. Instead, they’re picked ripe and red, which allows to them maintain their flavor.”

In business for over 12 years, Liskey said she’s noticed a demand for locally grown produce.

“People want to know where their food is coming from,” she said. “And they want to know how it’s grown, allowing them to better understand what they’re putting into their bodies.”

Liskey said many of the Woodbine Farm Market customers are purchasing the cherries to eat out of hand.

“Once they get in the car, a lot of them don’t make it home before they’re gone,” she said. “It’s nice to see the fruits of our labor enjoyed.”

Next up in the picking season will be peaches, which Liskey said will begin to be harvested at the end of June or early part of July up through September, depending on temperatures. Apples will be in season from July through October, or the beginning of November.