At Castleton Farm, we planted our first cherry trees in 2010, making us one of the first commercial orchards in Scotland.
We are renowned for the quality of our strawberries and raspberries from the 150 acres we cultivate, and alongside we also grow 66 acres of cherries.
So what drove our decision to grow cherries?
As a leading soft fruit producer, we were really playing to our strengths. Cherries are seen as a luxury product and attract discerning consumers looking for something distinct.
They’re also a versatile fruit – see our guide to five ways with cherries – and can be processed into various products, which appeals to different types of commercial customers. And choosing to diversify into cherries keeps us versatile.
Scotland produces the latest cherries in the northern hemisphere. We are still producing after the US, Canada and England have all ended their seasons. In fact, we are one of only a few farms in the world picking fresh cherries in September.
What cherry varieties?
There are over 1,200 types of cherries around the world so how do we choose the varieties we grow?
Well, it’s obviously based on consumer preferences but we also have to take the local climate into account.
The cherry season started at the end of July and lasts around eight weeks, with the fruit grown under polytunnels, which reduces the risk to the crop from the weather. Diversifying with a few varieties helps us manage risk due to weather or market changes.
The choice of variety also depends on factors like taste and appearance. Different cherry varieties have distinct characteristics in terms of flavour, size and colour.
Here at Castleton, we are growing five different types of cherries this year: Sweetheart, Lapins, Penny, Kordia, and Final Cerasina.
- Sweetheart: these are a dark red to almost black colour. Sweetheart cherries have a very sweet taste balanced with mildly acidic undertones, creating a pleasant, sweet, and tangy flavour
- Lapins: a large dark red juicy cherry with a mild sweet to sharp flavour. They appeal to those who like cherries but prefer a milder flavour
- Penny: a large firm black English cherry with an excellent flavour. It is one of a number of new varieties which are very late ripening – mid to late August
- Kordia: produces the “blackest” colour of all the cherries, its medium fruit is heart-shaped, sweet and juicy.
- Final Cerasina: another late ripening variety, it is dark red, firm, shiny and heart-shaped, with a medium to long stalk.
With cherries, you really can take your pick. You can buy Castleton cherries in our farm shop as well as through our network of local stockists.
And remember our loyalty card offer, which gets you two punnets for £4.