Britain's largest cherry tree bloomed this past week, prompting a bit of early salivating at the Telegraph. Too bad they have to wait a couple more months for fruit, though frankly we can relate. Up until last week, California cherry harvests had been in a holding pattern. The mostly cool and breezy spring weather we've been having along with the late April rains delayed or even killed some early season harvests, leaving a few summer stone fruit fanatics eyeing the calendar, and making a general nuisance of themselves at the markets. In this case, good cherries come to those who wait.
Choose fruit that has a taunt and shiny skin, but not slimy, and devoid of splits. Spurs, while generally unattractive, do not mean the fruit is bad - just pluck it off and eat as usual. The color with be dependent on the variety, but we're pretty enamored of the sunset blush of the Rainier types. That said the rich, dark, and almost winey flesh of the Bings and some of their hybrids have an almost gothy allure, down to the blood red stain they leave on lips. The season for local cherries from the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley is a short one: from now through June. But it looks like it's going to be a good one as long as the rains keep back -- mid-season rains tend to split the fruit -- so can up the best and eat the rest.