Long before Google or Apple came to Silicon Valley, there was C.J. Olson Cherries. This family-owned fruit stand has been right here on El Camino Real in the heart of the valley since 1899, serving first as a way station for Spanish missionaries and later for tech moguls. After visiting their clapboard store front myself, I’m betting their cherries are just as delicious now as they were a century ago.
You go to C.J. Olson for their cherries. They’re locally-grown (as in, right down the street) and so sweet they make your eyes roll. High cherry season lasts from mid-May through the end of June. The store-front carries several varieties, including Bings, Raniers, and Garnets, and the clerks encourage sampling each kind.
Their other specialty is Blenheim apricots, an especially sweet and aromatic variety of late-ripening apricot. Fresh apricots will start showing up in the fruit stand around mid-June and the season will extend for another month or so.
.J. Olson carries a wide selection of dried cherries and apricots, along with nuts, jams, honey, candies, and other items befitting their general-store persona. Don’t miss the chocolate-covered apricots and cherries in the corner; they are incredibly addictive and make excellent presents for friends and family back home.
Conveniently for those who can’t make it down to the valley for their cherries, C.J. Olson has opened locations at the San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland airports. I can’t imagine better airplane food than a bag of fresh cherries, can you?!
You can also order flats of cherries and their other offerings online:
• C.J. Olson Cherries, 348 W. El Camino Real, Sunnyvale, CA 94087