National Rainier Cherry Day on July 11th recognizes the cherry variety named after Mount Rainier. In 1952, Harry Fogle of Washington State University developed the Rainier cherry by cross-breeding the Bing and Van cherry varieties.
The sweet Rainier cherries have a thin skin and a thin creamy-yellow flesh. Cherries are a temperamental crop that is sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain. Each season, birds eat almost one-third of the crop. While cherries in general present growing challenges, Rainier cherries are unique. Their delicate skins require the cherries to be hand-picked. However, superior taste keeps producers and consumers coming back for more.
Due to their superior taste, Rainiers are considered a premium cherry.
This popular fruit is in such high demand that growers take extra pains to ensure the fruit does not go to the birds. They cover the trees in nets and plant them between red cherry trees to encourage the bees to pollinate the blossoms. Besides hand-picking the fruit, the harvesters place the cherries into small bags to avoid bruising. Every necessary precaution is taken, so the cherries arrive in the market in perfect and delicious condition.
In honor of the day and as part of the Tree-to-Table program, the Northwest Cherry Growers hand-pick one restaurant in each state to feature at least one Rainier cherry dish on July 11th in their restaurants.
For more information, visit www.nwcherries.com/treetotable.
HOW TO OBSERVE #RainierCherryDay
Purchase some Rainier cherries. Either bake with them or eat them fresh. Take some time to shop around. You may even find wine, cordials, or preserves made from Rainier cherries. The makers of the products will proudly display a label indicating the item is made with Rainier cherries. Post on social media using #RainierCherryDay to encourage others to join in as well.