Cherry Harvest Guide
What they look like:
Cherry trees produce smooth, round fruit that grow in clusters with long stems. Cherries vary in colour and size depending on variety. Ripe sweet cherries can be dark red, bright red, yellow, yellowish-red or black when fully ripe. Sour cherries tend to be a red-orange colour when ripe, though some varieties are purple or darker red.
When they’re ready:
– Sweet Cherries: Mid June to mid July in Toronto
– Sour Cherries: Late June to early August in Toronto
Pictured above: Sour cherries (left) and sweet cherries (right) ready to harvest.
When to contact Not Far From The Tree to schedule a pick:
We’ll need some advance notice to schedule your pick, so please submit a fruit pick request 3-5 days before your fruit is ready. A good time to do this is when cherries are full size (usually about the size of a quarter), taste almost ripe, and have changed colour very recently (when sweet cherries are red but not yet dark red; and when sour cherries are pink or orange but not yet bright red, they’ll usually be at peak ripeness in a few days time).
You’ll know they’re ready to harvest when…
When the cherry stem pulls easily from the tree and the fruit is plump and juicy. With sweet cherries, you can do a taste test to know when they’re ready to pick (sweet = ready!). Slightly unripe cherries will ripen after they’ve been picked but very unripe cherries don’t ripen well off the tree.
Grip the stems of the cherries and twist a full turn of the wrist. If this doesn’t separate the stem from the branch, give the stems a pull, trying not to pull off the leaves or the bark.
Keep the stem attached to the fruit as this will allow the cherries to store better. Cherries bruise easily and will not last long once they’ve been picked. For optimal storage, pack loosely in a single layer, store in the fridge and eat within a few days!
Check out our Fruit Guide for harvesting details for other local edibles.