Pilgrim Orchards proudly grows several different varieties of both cherries and peaches. We hope this page helps you decide which one is right for you. (We feel the most definitive way to pick your favorite is always a taste-test.) Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.
We have seven different kinds of cherries, including the dark Bings, the yellow Rainiers, and the sour pie cherries, (Montmorency). Here is a basic guide to our cherry selection:
We have five varieties of black cherries including the ever-popular Bings, as well as Sams, Vans, Lapins, and Stellas. While our most requested variety are the Bings, we encourage you to sample from different trees to find your favorite. All of these varieties are dark and juicy with slight variations in size and flavor. We love these varieties for healthy snacks, chopped on top of yogurt or in a fruit salad, or frozen for smoothies. They are also good canned, dried, or juiced and are delicious in a pie crust.
Rainier cherries are a favorite around our home. Slightly sweeter than black varieties, these fair-faced yellow cherries are splashed with red where the sun finds them as they ripen. Rainiers are not as good for preservation, but dominate fruit bowls with their bright colors and lush flavor.
Montmorency cherries are small, but these red gems are renowned among cherry lovers for their massive sour punch. Pair them with a little sugar, and you will see why they are better known as Pie Cherries. If you care to expand your horizons, try them dried for trail mix or baked goods, or create unique syrups and jams. We only have a small number of pie cherry trees, and they have a very short season because they are in high demand. Be sure to get here early on the first day for the best picking conditions, and call before you come to ensure that we have some left if they are your primary goal.
At Pilgrim Orchards, we grow four different varieties of peaches. These are the New Haven, our newest and earliest variety; the Suncrest, an eating peach capable of growing to epic proportions; the Veteran, a sweet freestone that is especially popular with canners; and the Improved Elberta, a true classic regarded by many as the ultimate canning peach.
Our little section of 125 New Haven trees serve as a sweet starter for our peach season. They usually ripen mid July and offer our first taste of sunshine from a tree. New Havens are perfect for eating fresh and they freeze well. Eager-beaver canners should wait for our next variety as these do not come off the pit well.
We consider Suncrest peaches to be the ultimate eating peach, and many of our regular customers agree. They are famous for sweet juiciness and they travel unusually well when carefully handled. They are great for freezing or in a pie, but hard to get off the pit for pretty canning results.
The Veterans provide the backbone of our home-canning operation, and are the first choice for many of our regular customers. It is a sweet, soft, and juicy peach that is easy to peel when ripe and easy to get off the pit. The main drawback is the fact that it bruises easily, so handle with care.
In the peach hall of fame, the Improved Elberta is one of the classic canning peaches. It is firm, easy to peel, and comes off the pit well. While it is not as sweet as some of our other varieties, the firm texture creates a stunning result with a little sweetener in a canning jar or pie.