Preheat the oven to 400°F. A digital kitchen scale is helpful for portioning.
Add all dry ingredients and zest into bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add cold butter cubes and run briefly until mixture looks mealy, but large chunks of butter remain. Add cherries and pulse a few times until cherries are roughly chopped and large butter pieces are the size of small peas.
Pour out mixture into a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk, starting with 1 c and mix lightly until ingredients just come together. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and continue to fold and knead, adding more buttermilk if needed, until dough just comes together. DO NOT OVERWORK.
Divide dough in half and shape into two discs, about 22oz. each. Flatten to about ¾” thick. Wrap tightly in plastic and freeze if not needed immediately, or cut into 7 wedges, about 3.25 oz ea.
Place wedges on parchment paper and sprinkle tops liberally with sugar. Turn oven temp down to 350°F and bake for 10 min, rotate, 10 min more or until golden brown.
Baker's tips: Want to make scones now, freeze and bake later? Remove frozen disc and thaw until pliable. Cut into wedges and bake as above.