June 22, 2017

Follow the Star

North Star cherry tree

Janine Pineo Photo | North Star cherry tree

Tell folks you grow fruit trees in Maine and a goodly number will likely think you mean an apple. How about a cherry? ‘North Star’ is a dwarf cherry tree that is hardy to Zone 4. It also is self-pollinating, which is a bonus if you have a small yard for you can easily find space for this petite beauty. You’ll note that the fruit in the accompanying photo has split; that’s the unfortunate reality for 2012 when there was a rash of rain just as the fruit was ripening in late June. (We ate most of them anyway.) ‘North Star’ is marketed as a pie cherry, which means that it is a sour cherry or a tart cherry. When the fruit of ‘North Star’ is ripe, there is full cherry flavor that is not overly sweet but definitely is not sour. So where does ‘North Star’ get its good looks and great taste? The hybrid is the result of a cross between a hardy Siberian variety and the English Morello cherry, a tree that has been cultivated for centuries and whose origins are unknown. No wonder the kid’s a star.