Fresh, dried or dipped in chocolate, cherries will not be in short supply at this year’s C.J. Olson’s Cherry Festival May 28 and 29 at the historic fruit stand at W. El Camino Real and S. Mathilda Avenue.
This marks the 13th annual celebration of the tasty red fruit for the Olson family, who preserved their family farm in the city’s center for more than 110 years. From 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., cherry connoisseurs can participate in day-long activities. Early birds can enjoy a cherry pancake breakfast starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 11 a.m.
Deborah Olson, a fourth- generation cherry farmer, will host cherry orchard tours on both Saturday and Sunday that kick off at about 11 a.m. and last an hour. Orchard tours will also be offered June 4 and 11, beginning at 10:30 a.m. at the stand.
On May 28, from noon to 2 p.m., Pete Carcione will be on hand to sign his new book, The New Greengrocer Cookbook, with recipes by his late father, Joe Carcione. Pete Carcione provides a new and expanded version of his father’s bestselling cookbook, The Greengrocer Cookbook. Sharing heralded recipes from the Carcione family, fruit and vegetable experts and fans of his father’s TV show and column, he updates the cookbook that earned accolades from TV Guide and Publishers Weekly.
On May 29, everyone is invited to celebrate Deborah Olson’s birthday with a slice of birthday cake. From noon to 2 p.m., there will be free birthday cake for all, while the cake lasts.
Live music will start at noon and feature Chico and the Band on Saturday and the Hot Rods on Sunday.
At 3 and 3:15 p.m., the locally famous cherry pit spitting contest will be held, in which three age groups can compete to win a prize. Before the festival comes to a close, adults can put their cherry knowledge to the test with a blind taste test. Winners also get a prize.