Sour cherry breeding began in the 1940’s, to produce a cherry capable of withstanding harsher climates. Sour cherries were created from crossing sweet cherry with the Mongolian cherry, which does occur in nature. The sour cherry was then crossed again with a different Mongolian cherry, passing down the dwarfing habit common to them. The three distinct characteristics of a sour cherry are its cold hardiness, short stature, and good fruit quality.
The University of Saskatchewan continues to explore breeding these cherries, and have released the Romance Series, which include Juliet, Carmine Jewel, Valentine, Romeo, Crimson Passion, and Cupid.
The Romance Series of sour cherries have been bred for high sugar content and ability for mechanical harvesting, a must for large-scale commercial operations. They are designed for thriving in the Canadian Prairies and can be grown down to Zone 2. They require full sun and have low to moderate water requirements. All of them are self-fertile, meaning they will produce fruit even if just one tree is present, say if one wanted one on a lawn or in a backyard. Unlike sweet cherries, these sour cherries are self-rooting, so they do not require a rootstock or grafting of any kind. They range in colour from bright red to almost black and tend to have slightly darker skins than flesh.
If you are interested in the Romance Series for your orchard, or even your backyard, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 1-778-754-6299.