Compendium of Sour or Tart Cherry Information

University of Saskatchewan fruit expert, Bob Bors has been working on something unique: a collection of bush-type tart cherries that produce large, tasty fruits well-suited for harvesting for fresh eating or pie making. Interesting fact: The BRIX sugar level is actually higher in these “Tart”cherries than it is in the traditional Bing cherry (22 vs 16) but as they have high acidity they are Tart.
“These varieties represent a breakthrough in having a bush cherry instead of a tree,” said Bors, “And they can be renewed, because if you have old trunks, you can just lop them off when they’re seven, eight years old, and new ones will take over. You can keep the same bushes growing for a long time … probably the rest of your life.”


Name / Height / Ripens / Colour / Fruit size / Notes / Sweetness

Carmine Jewel

6.5 ft – Late July – Almost Black – 4 grams – 110/lb/tree
Best ornamental, highest productivity, consistent fruiting year after year smaller fruit.


6.5 ft – Early Sept – Dark Red – 4 grams – 110/lb /tree – Brix 22 (Sweet but also high acidity – good for pies)
Gives fruit a year earlier on younger trees. Good juicer.


6.5 ft – Mid August – Dark Red – 5 grams – 90/lb – Brix 20
High productivity. Very good fresh eating.


6.5 ft – Late August – Almost Black to Dark Red – 6.5 grams – 70/lb – Brix 19
Moderate producer — Blooms later.

Crimson Passion

5.5 ft – Early August – Almost Black – 6 grams – 75/lb – Brix 22 (Sweetest)
Pits large enough to work with older crank pitters.

Photo courtesy of NetPS plant finder


(8 ft) Large bright red cherries – Size 4.5g  – Brix 15
Flavor: tart – best for pies, jams, and canning
Harvest: early to mid August Valentine has a more traditional bright red color. “This is our best for drying and smoothies because of its color.

Cutie Pie

8’ – The original plant was a heavy producer when only 5’ tall. Fruit is burgundy large, range of 5 to 6 grams. They are sweeter and firmer than most sour cherries. Still a sour cherry, though!


6ft – Mid August – Dark Red – 5 grams – 90/lb – Brix 20
High productivity. Very good fresh eating. Best for mechanical harvester machines due to shape of trees. Ideal for hedge growing. Hardiest of the cherries. Most consistent variety for production, beating out Carmine Jewel for overcoming harsh winters.

Sweet Thing

New release from the University of Saskatchewan in 2021! Sweet Thing really lives up to its name! Sweeter, firmer, and larger than most sour cherries, this variety is worth trying if you’re a fan of Bing or BC cherries. Most sour cherries average 3-4 grams, whereas Sweet Thing produces cherries that average 5-6 grams. Self-fertile. Though developed in Saskatchewan, Sweet Thing is still considered experimental in zone 3. We recommend planting in a sheltered location (minimal wind exposure) and ideally in a location with significant snowfall. Mature size: 6-8′ tall by 6-8′ wide.

Order Your Cherries From Our Online Shop