A Better Life .....                                                            with a Bowl of Cherries
A Better Life .....                                                            with a Bowl of Cherries
Why cherries? Tart Cherries?

Are they even hardy enough here? in the Quinte?

Is there any money in it? What kind of production can you count on?

Well, they are hardy allright, developed over a period of more than 40 years
in one of our colder regions of Canada, Northern Saskatchewan.
You can check it all out here
Be patient  because you will get access to a long PDF file with
all the pics and info produced by Dr. Bob Bors of the U of Sask.

You'll discover they are not nearly as tart or sour as the name suggests.
These sour cherries have Brix levels higher than strawberries and comparable to grapes.
We will therefore use the American approach calling these cherries tart and not sour. Because they aren't.

Yes, there is good money in growing these low bush cherries : ideal for u-pick, easy to harvest for selling road side and farmers market or whole sale to the local grocery store. 600 shrubs per acre, 2-3 pound in the year after planting, 15-20 pound thereafter, and in the fourth year and on a normal year will produce between 30 and 40 pounds of cherries per shrub. Most of it will be harvested, unlike strawberries where one can experience losses of more than 50% . U-pick $1.50 to $2.00 per pound would attract lots of pickers and a guaranteed income.

So....Why cherries?
For this you have to be aware of the commotion the United States Dept of Agriculture and the cherry growers caused when they began telling people how healthy cherries were.
(The FDA got a hissy fit and threatened to shut them down.  Burn the orchards?)
They were not allowed to tell:

  • That cherries would relieve pain better than the regular NSAID's (Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs, like Aspirin, Tylenol, etc.).
  • That cherries give relief of pain for gout sufferers
  • That cherry juice aids in recovery from sports injuries and in fact can help prevent sport injuries.
  • That cherries contain melatonin for a better and more restful sleep and reduces oxidized LDL generated while sleeping.

Normally our body produces all the melatonin we need as long
as we sleep in a really dark bedroom which unfortunately is often not the case.
Eating fresh or dried cherries before you go to bed at night may help you sleep better.

So cherries are incredibly important as a great source of  a whole bunch of different things to keep your immune system humming happily, send free radical scavengers into your arteries to keep them from doing damage and thus keep your LDL cholesterol low, etc. etc.

You can check it all out here  http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2006/mar2006_cover_cherries_01.htm

     and here   http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2007/dec2007_sf_cherries_01.htm

     and here   https://www.msu.edu/~cppt/Faculty/Nair/Tart%20cherry%20jnp-2.pdf

     and here   http://www.arthritis-treatment-and-relief.com/cherries-and-arthritis.html

"Twenty cherries provide 25 milligrams of anthocyanins, which help to shut down the enzymes that cause tissue inflammation in the first place, so cherries can prevent and treat many kinds of pain," says Muraleedharan Nair, the lead researcher on the cherry project at Michigan State University. The anthocyanins also may protect artery walls from the damage that leads to plaque build up and heart disease. In fact, the latest research shows that anthocyanins do a better job of protecting arteries than vitamins C and E.

Dr. Won Song, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at MSU and a registered dietitian, reviewed all of the previously published literature on the health benefits of cherries. She was amazed at the number of references in consumer publications. "There is even anecdotal information on the Internet," says Dr. Song. "While I found no scientific research to support the anecdotal information in these publications, we have learned enough that I believe there is a potential scientific connection that can be tested and proven." Dr. Song believes that tart cherries in some way modify enzyme and/or chemical activity in the body. She would like to pursue this idea with clinical studies in the near future.

Growing concerns about the gastrointestinal and cardiovascular risks of common pain-relieving drugs are leading many health-conscious adults to avidly seek safe, effective ways of beating inflammation and pain. Exciting evidence suggests that delicious tart cherries offer powerful pain relief and may also safeguard against cancer and neurodegenerative conditions.

Whether consumed fresh, frozen, sun-dried, or in canned or juiced forms, tart cherries are rich in nutritive compounds and powerful flavonoids. Flavonoids—colorful compounds found in many fruits and vegetables—are attracting growing attention for their antioxidative activity, free-radical scavenging capacity, and anticancer effects.

  • 1  A special class of flavonoids called anthocyanins provides tart cherries with their characteristic flavor, deep color, and diverse health benefits.
  • 2  Anthocyanins also confer dark pigmentation and strong antioxidant properties to blueberries, raspberries, and bilberries, but tart cherries offer novel anthocyanins not found in these other deeply colored fruits.
  • 3  Furthermore they are a rich source of antioxidants including quercetin, genistein, naringenin, and chlorogenic acid.

The FDA does not want the cherry industry to tell people that recent studies show
that cherries contain substances that are potentially 10 times stronger than aspirin or ibuprofen for relieving pain.!!!
It does not want the public to know that substances in cherries
may kill cancer cells and prevent cancer.
It makes no difference whether these statements are true.!!!
What's important is that the public not be told that a natural substance (cherries)
has been shown to work as well as or better than an unnatural one (ibuprofen).!!!


Tart cherries are an excellent source of beta-carotene, containing 25 times the beta-carotene of blueberries.
They are also rich in vitamin C and provide potassium, magnesium, iron, folate, and fiber.

One cup (155 g) of tart cherries without pits provides:

Calories: 77
Calories from fat: 4
Total carbohydrate: 19 g
Dietary fiber 2 g
Sugars 13 g
Protein 2 g
Beta-carotene 1193 mcg
Vitamin C 15.5 mg
Lutein and zeaxanthin 132 mcg
Folate 12.4 mcg
Calcium 24.8 mg
Magnesium 13.9 mg
Potassium 268 mg
Iron 0.5 mg

The Truth About Cherries

Let's slice through the cobbler and look at some cherry science.
First, the USDA-funded studies determined that:

cherries have a low glycemic index;
cherries are fat-free, sodium-free,
and high in vitamins C, B6, E, and folic acid;
cherries rate high on the ORAC antioxidant scale (128 units per gram).
The sellers of cherry products would also like people to know
that cherries can relieve arthritis pain and may be good for blood sugar.
Are these statements true?

In 2004, researchers from Johns Hopkins Hospital reported that phytocompounds in tart cherries suppress pain caused by inflammation about as well as the drug Indocin® (indomethacin).7 Indocin® is a powerful nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that can cause many side effects. The Hopkins report on tart cherries confirms reports from other countries showing that the same substance that makes cherries red makes inflammation subside.8-13 That substance is called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are related to proanthocyanidins found in grapes and other berries, but they're not the same thing. Anthocyanins are the red pigment in berries. They also make blueberries purple and blue corn blue. Anthocyanins (and there are many) compare favorably to ibuprofen and naproxen for pain relief.12,13 Except for the Johns Hopkins study, which was done on rodents, most studies show the effects of anthocyanins in cells, not clinical effects in people. Do they work in humans as well as they do in rats?

The cherry industry gets letters saying things like, "I have been using the cherry concentrate for my extremely debilitating fibromyalgia pain for about three weeks and have noticed a significant difference." Is it true? Is it false? Who should be the judge?

Cherries and Melatonin

Are you one of more than 90% of North Americans who complain of difficulty sleeping at some point in their lives?
Do you toss and turn at night, dreaming of restful sleep?
What are the benefits of melatonin for you?
*Helps to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep
*Helps relieve the daytime fatigue associated with jet tag
*Helps improve your total sleep time when your sleep is restricted or your sleep schedule is altered
Do you feel sore, particularly after working out?
Research at University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio has shown tart cherries contain significant quantities of melantonin, a poweful antioxidant. According to Dr Russel J Reiter, "tart cherries contain an extremely significant quantity of melatonin, enough to produce positive results in the body."
In 2001, another leading researcher reported that tart cherries contain relatively high levels of melatonin, a natural factor previously associated with sleep but now known to be a factor in immunity and much more. A recent study shows how important melatonin is to health. For the first time ever, researchers report that people who have heart attacks have very low levels of melatonin. At the same time, they have very high levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) when measured at night.

Eating cherries increases levels of melatonin. Researchers in Spain, China, and other countries have documented that melatonin suppresses cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), which plays a role in conditions such as Alzheimer's disease where it does damage, yet augments COX-2 in situations where it's needed, such as healing stomach ulcers. In other words, melatonin is a "smart" compound in cherries.

Researchers at Michigan State University were the first to identify the presence of numerous natural compounds in tart cherries with antioxidant properties. These bioactive phytochemicals, called anthocyanins, are especially enriched in tart cherries.
Why is that important to you? In vitro studies have revealed that anthocyanins are extremely effective in inhibiting the COX enzyme. COX enzymes speed up your body's production of hormone-like substances called prostaglandins which cause a feeling of discomfort by irritating your nerve endings.
Please visit my website for more information or ordering


NB. Some references do not just list the benefits of anthocyanins, but also refer to research into the dangerous side effects of the drugs to treat diabetes type ll.

1. Thompson v. Western States Medical Center (01-344) 535 US. 357:2002.

2. Lindstrom J, Tuomilehto J. The diabetes risk score: a practical tool to predict type 2 diabetes risk. Diabetes Care. 2003 Mar;26(3):725-31.

3. Hanamura T, Hagiwara T, Kawagishi H. Structural and functional characterization of polyphenols isolated from acerola (Malpighia emarginata DC.) fruit. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2005 Feb;69(2):280-6.

4. Montonen J, Jarvinen R, Heliovaara M, et al. Food consumption and the incidence of type II diabetes mellitus. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2005 Mar;59(3):441-8.

5. Available at: www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/hclmgui4.html.

6. Available at: www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/lab-qhc.html..

7. Tall JM, Seeram NP, Zhao C, et al. Tart cherry anthocyanins suppress inflammation-induced pain behavior in rat. Behav Brain Res. 2004 Aug 12;153(1):181-8.

8. Hou DX, Yanagita T, Uto T, Masuzaki S, Fujii M. Anthocyanidins inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 expression in LPS-evoked macrophages: structure-activity relationship and molecular mechanisms involved. Biochem Pharmacol. 2005 Aug 1;70(3):417-25.

9. Ueda H, Yamazaki C, Yamazaki M. A hydroxyl group of flavonoids affects oral anti-inflammatory activity and inhibition of systemic tumor necrosis factor-alpha production. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2004 Jan;68(1):119-25.

10. Rossi A, Serraino I, Dugo P, et al. Protective effects of anthocyanins from blackberry in a rat model of acute lung inflammation. Free Radic Res. 2003 Aug;37(8):891-900.

11. Wang H, Nair MG, Strasburg GM, et al. Antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities of anthocyanins and their aglycon, cyanidin, from tart cherries. J Nat Prod. 1999 Feb;62(2):294-6.

12. Seeram NP, Momin RA, Nair MG, Bourquin LD. Cyclooxygenase inhibitory and antioxidant cyanidin glycosides in cherries and berries. Phytomedicine. 2001 Sep;8(5):362-9.

13. Seeram NP, Zhang Y, Nair MG. Inhibition of proliferation of human cancer cells and cyclooxygenase enzymes by anthocyanidins and catechins. Nutr Cancer. 2003;46(1):101-6.

14. Burkhardt S, Tan DX, Manchester LC, Hardeland R, Reiter RJ. Detection and quantification of the antioxidant melatonin in Montmorency and Balaton tart cherries (Prunus cerasus). J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Oct;49(10):4898-902.

15. Wu YH, Swaab DF. The human pineal gland and melatonin in aging and Alzheimer's disease. J Pineal Res. 2005 Apr;38(3):145-52.

16. Carrillo-Vico A, Guerrero JM, Lardone PJ, Reiter RJ. A review of the multiple actions of melatonin on the immune system. Endocrine. 2005 Jul;27(2):189-200.

17. Baydas G, Reiter RJ, Akbulut M, Tuzcu M, Tamer S. Melatonin inhibits neural apoptosis induced by homocysteine in hippocampus of rats via inhibition of cytochrome c translocation and caspase-3 activation and by regulating pro- and anti-apoptotic protein levels. Neuroscience. 2005;135(3):879-86.

18. Dominguez-Rodriguez A, breu-Gonzalez P, Garcia-Gonzalez M, et al. Elevated levels of oxidized low-density lipoprotein and impaired nocturnal synthesis of melatonin in patients with myocardial infarction. Atherosclerosis. 2005 May;180(1):101-5.

19. Hattori A, Migitaka H, Iigo M, et al. Identification of melatonin in plants and its effects on plasma melatonin levels and binding to melatonin receptors in vertebrates. Biochem Mol Biol Int. 1995 Mar;35(3):627-34.

20. Mayo JC, Sainz RM, Tan DX, et al. Anti-inflammatory actions of melatonin and its metabolites, N1-acetyl-N2-formyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AFMK) and N1-acetyl-5-methoxykynuramine (AMK), in macrophages. J Neuroimmunol. 2005 Aug;165(1-2):139-49.

21. Konturek SJ, Konturek PC, Brzozowski T. Prostaglandins and ulcer healing. J Physiol Pharmacol. 2005 Sep;56 Suppl 55-31.

22. Dong WG, Mei Q, Yu JP, et al. Effects of melatonin on the expression of iNOS and COX-2 in rat models of colitis. World J
Gastroenterol. 2003 Jun;9(6):1307-11.

23. Passamonti S, Vrhovsek U, Vanzo A, Mattivi F. Fast access of some grape pigments to the brain. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Sep 7;53(18):7029-34.

24. Letenneur L. Risk of dementia and alcohol and wine consumption: a review of recent results. Biol Res. 2004;37(2):189-93.

25. Commenges D, Scotet V, Renaud S, et al. Intake of flavonoids and risk of dementia. Eur.J Epidemiol. 2000 Apr;16(4):357-63.

26. Golbe LI, Farrell TM, Davis PH. Case-control study of early life dietary factors in Parkinson's disease. Arch Neurol. 1988

27. Andres-Lacueva C, Shukitt-Hale B, Galli RL, et al. Anthocyanins in aged blueberry-fed rats are found centrally and may enhance memory. Nutr Neurosci. 2005 Apr;8(2):111-20.

28. Viljanen K, Kylli P, Hubbermann EM, Schwarz K, Heinonen M. Anthocyanin antioxidant activity and partition behavior in whey protein emulsion. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Mar 23;53(6):2022-7.

29. Visioli F, Riso P, Grande S, Galli C, Porrini M. Protective activity of tomato products on in vivo markers of lipid oxidation. Eur J Nutr. 2003 Aug;42(4):201-6.

30. Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN. Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients: a meta-analysis of prospective studies. JAMA. 1998 Apr 15;279(15):1200-5.

31. Gruchalla R. Understanding drug allergies. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2000 Jun;105(6 Pt 2):S637-44.

32. Stein R, Kaufman M. New diabetes drug poses major risks, panel says: review finds FDA overlooked data on life-threatening cardiovascular effects of Pargluva. The Washington Post. 2005 Oct 21;A02.

33. Nissen SE, Wolski K, Topol EJ. Effect of muraglitazar on death and major adverse cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. JAMA. 2005 Nov 23;294(20):2581-6. ".....muraglitazar was associated with an excess incidence of the composite end point of death, major adverse cardiovascular events (MI, stroke, TIA), and CHF. This agent should not be approved to treat diabetes based on laboratory end points until safety is documented in a dedicated cardiovascular events trial....."

34. Available at: http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-documented&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0020241.
Accessed December 5, 2005
Dwarf Tart Cherries do not stain counters or clothing. They range in size from around the size of a nickel to the size of a loonie. We have 5 varieties: Cupid, Romeo, Juliet, Carmine Jewel, & Crimson Passion.

We use Dwarf Tart Cherries for pies, tarts, canning, jams, jellies, syrup, liqueur, fresh eating, and with meats.

5 cups fresh or frozen dwarf tart cherry fruit
3/4 - 1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
Combine ingredients in a saucepan.
Cover and set over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Raise heat to medium, bring to a boil, and boil gently for 5 min.
Remove from stove and cool mixture before pouring into an unbaked pie shell.
A Better Life .....                                                            with a Bowl of Cherries