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Fresh at the markets: Cherries

The Forager

South Australian cherries are back at the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market, with Renmark’s Eko Fresh Fruit offering two different varieties from its farm.

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The Emperor cherries are round, firm, sweet and rich, with a small stone in the centre, while the appropriately named Early variety are heart-shaped, soft and very juicy.

Mitch Ekonomopoulos, from Eko Fresh Fruit, says heavy crop levels this year are a result of cherries setting well due to a good chill during the winter.   “Cherries tend to set best when winter temperatures drop below 0C, and the more chilled days the better.”

Cherries have been grown in Australia since the late 1800s, with around 80 varieties available. They have a short growing season of three to four months, with many varieties peaking in December – hence the fruit’s association with Christmas.

The most common varieties in Australia include Merchant, Bing, Stella, Lapin, Van, Sweetheart, Empress, Simone and Kordia. They all offer health benefits, as they contain a range of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.

Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market stallholder Claude Conterno, from Merry Cherry Farms, says cherries are best stored in the fridge in an airtight container to ensure they stay fresh and last longer.

Conterno says smaller cherries can be just as flavoursome as larger cherries. And while he believes the fruit is best eaten fresh, it can also be used as a nice addition to a cheese plate or to add a sweet, rich, fruity flavour to recipes.

Cherries are available now at the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market from Eko Fresh Fruit and will be available from Adelaide Hills growers Merry Cherry Farms and Cherryville Farm from late November. Ashbourne Valley Orchards will be offering its Fleurieu Peninsula grown cherries later in the season.

Eko Fresh Fruit will also be at Prospect Farmers’ Market on Thursday afternoons from mid-November.

Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market is on Sundays, 9am-1pm, at the Adelaide Showground, Leader Street, Wayville. Prospect Farmers’ Market is held on Thursday from 3pm-7pm, next to Prospect Town Hall in Vine Street Plaza.

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