Ask AOA: plums and cherries

sour cherries

These cherries need a pie.

Emails Erin:

I'm having trouble locating a few favorite produce items from my childhood. Damson plums make the best jam you can imagine, and a homemade sour cherry pie with vanilla ice cream can't be beat.
However, I'm having a terrible time finding the two key ingredients around here (I grew up in Ohio). In all your poking around local markets and such, have you encountered either the plums or the cherries? If so, I'd love to know where to get them!

We've had some great sour cherry pies made with fruit from Columbia County, but the same of the orchard escapes us now. Anyone have tips for Erin?


You guys might be thinking of Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook or the Berry Farm in Chatham. I bought some great sour cherries from the mini farmer's market in the St. James Church parking lot off Delaware Ave. on Tuesday evenings, but that was several weeks ago.

I'm not sure about the Damson plums, but the Maynard Farms stand at the Schenectady Greenmarket last week had more types of plums and peaches than I'd ever seen before. Erin could give them a call and ask:

I really enjoy the pies from Golden Harvest in Schodack, however I think cherry season is just about over. I feel you on missing sour cherry pie, I'm orginally from Illinois, and we used to get lots of Michigan cherries.

The Honest Weight Food Coop had some quarts of them today. Sort of local--Kingston, I think. Not cheap, but if it satisfies a craving, probably worth the dough.

We were out at Golden Harvest Farms in Valatie for the Scott Murphy Health Care Town Hall - they had fresh cherries as well as peaches, not sure about plums.

The Farm at Kristy's Barn (once known as Appleland) on Brookview Road in Schodack has sour cherries and Concord grapes and other such heritage fruits in season. The problem with such things, of course, is that the season is very very short -- you've pretty much got to know when it's coming. I grow my own sour cherries (it only takes about 10 years before a tree bears appreciable fruit), and they are done in early July. The local sour Concord grapes are later September. I don't know that variety of plum, but again you've got to be ready when the fruit is.

They also have their own honey, and cider donuts to die for.

Love Apple Farm on 9H has sour cherries, but it might be a bit late now. They have FANTASTIC homemade pies and donuts as well, and not to far (take 90, get off at the exit for hudson, right onto 9, continue onto 9H)

I use the Ag & Markets Farm Fresh Guide search at

Click on Region and East and then choose Other Tree Fruit. On the results list, use Edit+Find and type cherries or CTRL+F to find the word cherries on the page.

However, looks like they may have been over in July. We picked cherries in CT (while we were visiting family during the last weekend of June) at Right now they have pick-your-own blueberries, peaches (Red Haven or white), nectarines, Satsuma plums, and early apples (Ginger Gold or Paula Red).

Today, Indian Ladder Farms has ever-bearing strawberries (fair conditions for picking), blueberries (good), raspberries (slim picking right now). Call their hotline before you go: (866) 640-PICK. See also pick-your-own blueberries at

I know this won't make up for your search for tart cherries, but enjoy what's available locally now.

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