Rainier Cherries: The Cream of the Crop

June 4, 2008

Yippee! It's cherry season! More importantly, it's Rainier cherry season. On the totem pole of cherries, Rainiers are at the tippy top. Created back in 1952 at Washington State University by Harold Fogle, the Rainier is a hybrid of both the Bing and Van cherries – the sweetest of the red varieties. Bless Fogle’s cherry-loving soul.

How sweet are they, you ask? Rainier cherries aren't picked until they measure 17 brix (a sweetness gauge), and some farmers won't pick them until they measure 20. To give you an idea of sweetness, a peach is considered perfectly sweet if it measures 13 brix.

Sweetness aside, these creamy-fleshed beauties are about as temperamental as a bride on her wedding day. Appearing briefly in June and July, they bruise if the wind blows too much and falter if it’s too hot. The father – er, farmer – is stressed the entire season.

Even though farmers will lose about 30% to the birds the cherries will still fetch about $5-6 a pound.

And they are worth every penny!



Thomas's picture

Rainer cherries are delicious and one of my favorite northwest treats. Another summer crop thats just around the corner and delicious is wild huckleberries. At www.nwwildfoods.com they can be purchased year round and make a healthy and delicious treat. Great for pies, smoothies and toppings.

david's picture

We enjoy these cherries very much every summer! The price for them varies all over the place! In two sites of the same grocery chain, the stores being about 15 miles apart--- the price at one store is $2.99 while the other is $5.99 per pound. We enjoy the first store's cherries much more!

rainer cherries's picture

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