Cherries are one of the most prized fruits we have.
Not only are cherries delicious, but they offer quite a few health benefits as well.
Although it would be nice to have cherries to eat all year round, usually, the time you can find them in the grocery store is short lived.
What makes things even more unfortunate is when you look at the cherries’ pricing.
The per pound price of cherries is exceptionally high, and these tiny fruits add up in weight rather quickly.
If you have experienced the cherry sticker shock, you may be wondering what some of the things are which lead to these high prices.
Why Are Cherries so Expensive?
1. Short Season
The main reason cherries are so expensive is that they have a very short season.
Most fruits and vegetables have an extended season where they are introduced and then eventually fade out.
The season for most fruits usually means that the earliest fruits to arrive are priced high, then during the prime season, the prices lower.
Take, for instance, watermelons.
At the beginning of the watermelon season, a watermelon could sell for $8 or $9.
As the season goes on and there are more and more watermelons available, the pricing can drop below $4.
As the watermelon crops finish producing, you will see the prices start to rise again.
This is a common pattern many fruits will follow, except cherries.
Cherries only bloom for a very short period of time.
By the time these cherry trees produce their crop and the product makes it to the stores, there are really only a few more weeks of the cherry season left.
There is no introduction and no finale for the cherry season.
It simply comes and goes quite quickly.
During the entire time you can find cherries in a store, the price will remain relatively the same.
To find cherries on sale or offered at a low price is certainly quite rare.
The next time you see cherries in the store and you think it is worth waiting for them to go on sale, think again.
You should purchase the cherries when you see them.
Otherwise, you may risk missing out on a chance to taste this year’s crop.
The dollar or two you may save catching them at a last-minute sale will likely not be worth the chance of missing out on cherries this season.
2. Select Climates Where They Can Grow
Have you ever noticed people don’t typically grow their own cherry trees?
Cherry trees are difficult to manage, and they can only grow in select climates.
Even those who truly love cherries are going to have a hard time growing these fruits in their own yards.
Since cherries can only be grown in select areas, this makes the demand for them even higher.
You will notice that, when you live in areas where cherries are readily available, and there are lots of cherry farms, your price may be a little lower.
When you live in a cold climate where there is no chance a cherry tree could make it, then you will probably pay even more for fresh cherries.
This brings in a little of the supply and demand concept you see when it comes to fruits.
In certain areas of the country, fruit can be very rare.
These people, because of their climate, are accustomed to all fruit being imported and therefore costing quite a bit of extra money.
In addition to getting cherries to different areas of the world, there is also the problem of there not being enough cherry farmers.
Since the cherries are so temperamental when it comes to climate and weather, the very few locations where they can grow can only accommodate so many cherry farms.
Some farmers in other areas of the country will work to artificially create the perfect weather conditions for the cherries to grow.
This is still an expensive process.
Although this provides us with more cherries to eat, it does not necessarily make them cheaper.
Not all cherries are going to be organic cherries.
In fact, if you want to spend a lot of extra money on cherries, you can look for the organic kind.
Cherries are not the easiest crop to grow, especially when it comes to rainfall and how temperamental the cherry trees can be.
If there is a lot of rain in a season, there is a high probability cherries will get a fungus.
Therefore, a fungicide will need to be used to keep the cherries in good shape and not lose them completely.
To use a safe and effective fungicide, it will cost farmers quite a bit of money.
Of course, there are some options which may be cheaper to spray, but they will not be as safe for humans to consume.
High-quality fungicides are going to significantly impact the overall cost to the farmer to produce cherries, and therefore increase the cost of the cherries you purchase in the store.
After all, farming is a business like any other.
In order for everyone along the way to make their fair share of profit, these types of costs will be reflected in the price of the product.
The more the farmer has to pay to produce the cherries that year, the more you are going to pay as a consumer.
Considering the fact that none of us would have the ability to purchase cherries if it weren’t for these farmers, this is something you should not complain about all that much.
4. Issues with Rainfall
A farmer can do everything right when planting cherries and taking care of them, but they really have no control when it comes to the weather.
In a year where there is quite a bit of rain, cherries are usually going to have a very weak crop.
The rainy season leads to lots of possibilities for fungus, which can reduce the size of the crop and its quality.
Although some crops will thrive in the rain, cherries are going to have problems, and the frost can be troublesome as well.
Essentially, if farmers want to have an unbelievable season with lots of cherries, they are going to need perfect weather conditions.
If those perfect weather conditions do exist, you may see some decrease in the pricing of the cherries.
Chances are you will see more of an increase in a poor season than you will see a decrease in a great season.
It is difficult to get these cherries perfect, so if the weather is on the farmer’s side, they will not just give cherries away.
Lots of time and effort have already gone into the process, and therefore it’s essential to keep the pricing at a fair level for the farmers.
You may remember we mentioned that cherries could only grow in select climates.
One of the major issues here is that cherries are still wanted all over the world.
In order for cherries to make their way from the select climate to the outer parts of the world where cherries are in demand is going to cost quite a bit of money.
Transportation is one of the biggest fees any of us pay.
You will have to absorb the cost of the cherries making their way from the farm to the grocery store for us to purchase.
If your stores are close to the cherry farms, your pricing could be potentially a bit less.
If your stores are thousands of miles away, chances are you will be absorbing some of this cost in the cherries you purchase.
This is one of those things that is going to be very difficult to avoid.
Unless you move closer to a cherry farm, there are always going to be logistics costs involved in purchasing cherries.
This is also partly why you don’t see the prices drop midseason.
In some climates, they will have fruits and vegetables shipped in from far away during the cold season.
However, during warmer months, food may be readily available in the general area.
This helps consumers to save some money on the food they purchase.
This is just not the case with cherries, and that is why you see prices staying almost the same all year long.
How Can I Save Money on Cherries?
As we mentioned, you will probably not see too many sales on cherries during the summer.
Unfortunately, with all of the factors involved, the pricing tends to stay the same.
However, if you do see a sale, it will very likely be around the 4th of July.
This is the time of the year when cherry season seems to be at its peak, and many stores want to sell the cherries they have instead of seeing them go to waste.
Since cherries are so pricey, some consumers will choose to skip purchasing them altogether, and this can lead to some waste in the stores.
You will notice that stores often pack several pounds of cherries into a bag.
This is partly what gets to be a problem with customers.
They will see that the cherries are on sale for $4.00 a pound.
The problem is that most consumers will not take the time to weigh the bag of cherries they pick up.
When you get to the checkout and find that the bag of cherries is a three-pound bag, you may want to reconsider spending $12 on cherries.
One idea is to take a smaller bag and find one that is closer to a pound.
Especially if you don’t think you will consume all the cherries in the bag, there is no sense in buying an amount the store told you to purchase.
Sometimes you will find that pricing is quite a bit lower on frozen cherries.
Although frozen cherries are not the same when it comes to eating them raw, they are great for making pies.
If you are purchasing cherries with the sole intention of using them for cooking, then you should consider the frozen options.
Hopefully, you can now understand why that bag of cherries takes up such a large portion of your grocery bill.
There are many reasons behind these high prices, and you are certainly not being ripped off with the prices you pay for cherries.
Keep in mind that cherries are only around for a short time each year.
They are a special treat, and they are good for your health.
If you want to indulge in a bag of cherries a few times a year, you should absolutely do so.
The few extra dollars at the end of the year is not going to make one bit of difference.