Tongue River Winery         

                       Quality Made Wines with fruit exclusively from the Northern Plains!  


Cherry Ripeness

Posted on August 8, 2010 at 6:28 PM

I asked a couple of people the last few days, "How do you know when cherries are ripe?"   I think I figured it out:  if the birds already got them, you're a day late.  So the best way is this one:  if the fruit comes off without any real pulling, just strips off in your hands, it's dead ripe.  Wait a little longer, and it starts dropping by itself.


Our sandcherries are all under birdnetting, but I leave it a little unprotected so a few birds get inside.  I can quickly identify which bushes are dead ripe by the bird-pecked cherries on the shrubs.  Those are the ones I hit first.

Sandcherries are interesting fruits.  Most of them are a deep purple-black when they're dead ripe.  But some of them are more of a burgundy color, and some are actually a sort of greenish-red.  The most interesting are the yellow ones.  Of 175 sandcherry bushes we've planted, only two of them throw yellow cherries.  Next year at harvest I'll start marking the best fruiting bushes, and take cuttings of them in the spring for more identical plants.  Then we'll start pulling out the worst of them and replace them with the best rooted cuttings we make.

Today I've picked 80 pounds so far.  I can easily pick 20-25 pounds per hour.  I think we've got at least another 300 pounds to pick and it could be much more.  And I think they'll all probably ripen this week.  So pray for cloudy days, so we don't cook in the sun.