Every year for the past 5 or 6 years I've made a decision to find fresh sour cherries in the Bay Area. It has never happened for me. I've either missed it by a week, or no one knows anyone who grows them. So this year, I decided to start early. Very early. And do a lot of research. First, however, I'll take a step back and offer up a few facts.
Also called tart or "pie" cherries, the most popular variety of sour cherries grown in the United States is the Montmorency. They are harvested in the hot summer month of July. And while they are primarily grown in Michigan and New York, there are surely other sour cherry farmers sprinkled throughout the U.S. Sour cherries are quite easy to find in Europe. Just walk down any street in Paris in the summer and the produce bins are spilling over with sour cherries. That doesn't help me. Who is going to go to Paris and bake a cherry pie? Okay, maybe I'll have to resort to this, but for now, I've decided that I need to find them closer to home.
My pursuit was rekindled recently when I came across a jar of Bulgarian sour cherries in light syrup. I used them in a delicious cherry tart (see the recipe below). But instead of quelling the fire, it just stoked it further. A jar of cherries shipped halfway across the world is just not the same as using the real thing. I started asking farmers at the market (no luck). I emailed CUESA, the Center for Urban Education and Sustainable Agriculture, which manages the SF Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market (still haven't heard back, I'll let you know what I hear). I googled SF sour cherries, Bay Area sour cherries, west coast sour cherries? I searched the internet. I asked friends. I started looking into planting a tree. They are difficult to keep alive. Okay, so I'm a little obsessive.
So now I need your help. I've only got 4 1/2 months. Do you know someone who grows sour cherries? Can you hook me up?