Prunus cerasus Balaton™ (Semi Dwarf Tart Cherry)
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Prunus cerasus Balaton™ is a cultivar of tart cherry noted for its dark red color through and through, and its high natural sugar content for a cherry of its type. The key difference between Balaton™ and 'Montmorency' cherries is the continuation of the dark red color of the Balaton™ variety's skin into the flesh; 'Montmorency' has red skin and lighter colored flesh.
The cultivar name Balaton™ replaces the cultivar's original name of 'Újfehértói Fürtös,' for obvious reasons. Originally named for the Hungarian village the cultivar originates from, the horticulturalist who introduced it to the US, Dr. Amy Iezzoni is credited with the new name. According to her, she wanted to provide credit to the cultivar's home country and chose the cultivar's new namesake Lake Balaton from a map. As she puts it, "Well, if you look at a Hungarian map, about the only thing an American can pronounce is Lake Balaton."
As a semi-dwarf variety, Balaton™ grows to 8-12' and produces telltale white and pink-tinged spring cherry blossoms, that turn to mature fruit by late season, typically mid July. Flowers are attractive to pollinators and butterflies, and fruits are attractive to insects, wildlife, and people! Balaton™ cherries can be eaten straight from the tree for a sweet-tart zing, or made into pies or wines to exhibit the fruit's unique flavor and bright red color. Although Balaton™ is a self-fertile cultivar and will produce fruit by itself, it may benefit from the addition of a nearby sweet cherry to aid in pollination.