Because Balaton® is an extremely firm tart cherry, it can be harvested by hand and sold as fresh fruit. Fresh Balaton® tart cherries taste superb due to their tangy, yet sweet, flavor. In its native Hungary, tart cherries are one of the first fruits to ripen in the summer and are highly sought after as a fresh fruit.
For the fresh market, Balaton® fruit are hand harvested without the stem. Balaton® is uniquely different from sweet cherries because of the absence of stems on the fresh fruit. When Balaton® cherries ripen, they lay down a special cell layer at the stem attachment, called the abscission layer, that “seals” off the fruit. When the fruit is ripe, the fruit naturally separates from the stem and the fruit is “protected” from outside air via a fully developed abscission layer. Therefore, fully ripe fruit are stemless due to this natural separation. Sweet cherries do not have a similar “packaging” mechanism.
Balaton® cherries will be available during the summer at various farm markets in Grand Rapids, Traverse City, and Oceana County, MI and Chicago areas.