Rainier Cherry, just the name sounds special. Normally found in markets from late July to early August – they are available now, one slight week early. Cherries have a narrow window as it is but the Rainier Cherry is available for harvesting for a mere three weeks in summer.
Washington State is the site of its origin and the largest producer of this delectable fruit. To the delight of visitors, bountiful baskets from the rainy state can set a banquet table for discerning palettes from around the world. Washington owes its popular variety of seafood to the Pacific Ocean and the Puget Sound. Award winning Apples are second to none coming in 8 varieties and Washington is second in production of premier wines in the United States. None of those can match the singular delight of the Rainier Cherry.
Legends and tales abound about the Rainier Cherry from being the true passion fruit with a variety of beneficial health claims to attributing its lasting qualities to the volcanic soil on Mount Rainier. Native Americans presenting the sumptuous fruit to Lewis and Clark is one theory for the awareness being spread like the roots of the tree. Quaint lore aside the official record attributes Washington State University breeding the Bing and the Van cherries to create the Mount Rainier Cherry in 1952.
This elusive little fruit is ambrosia personified. The seductive fragrance of this cherry lures you to the ripe fruit and the taste can only be described as heavenly. Perhaps a slight exaggeration, but not much. The scent and lingering taste of the floral quality of this fruit is much like a fine wine.
The Rainier Cherry is being cultivated now in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, and Utah. Named after Mount Rainier, Washington State is still the premier supplier of this limited fruit.
Mark your calendar for the brief annual arrivals. I have seen women with small children in tow fight to the pit over the last few offerings of the season. Available now in many stores, cherry connoisseurs might want to shop for organic and local Washington State Rainier Cherries at better grocers and organic markets.
Debra Amundson C 2017
Rose on The Roads