National Rainier Cherry Day is celebrated in America on July 11. The day celebrates one of the nation’s best-loved summer fruits. The day also marks the peak of the Rainier cherry harvest for growers in Washington. In fact, Washington produces some of the highest quantities of Rainier cherries in the States. The Rainier cherries are golden yellow cherries with tender, creamy-yellow flesh and a red blush. They have a tiny brown-colored kernel, too. Rainier cherries have a high sugar content and are classified as premium fruits. These cherries are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and potassium.
History of National Rainier Cherry Day
The creator and the history of National Rainier Cherry Day are largely unknown. Back in 1952, Dr. Harold W. Fogle, a researcher at Washington State University, crossed the Bing and Van varieties of cherries to create the unique Rainier cherry. It gets its name from the great Mount Rainier in Washington State. Farmers started harvesting this variety after it was approved for commercial production in 1960.
Rainier cherries belong to the Prunus genus and are descendants of Prunus avium, the wild cherry. July is the prime season for Rainier cherry harvesting in Washington and these cherries grow for only two months every year. Growing Rainier cherries is quite a challenging task for farmers. Since the fruit has a thin and fragile skin, it is highly prone to bruising. Rainier cherries are hand-picked with extra care from the tree and put in tiny bags or lugs to minimize contact. These are temperamental crops that are sensitive to weather changes like high temperatures, rain, or strong winds.
Birds feast on Rainier cherries, too, and they are a menace to farmers, who put up nets to keep the birds from this precious fruit. The cherries are treated with the utmost care, even after they are picked from the trees. Immediately after harvest, the fruit is hydro-cooled to preserve the freshness of the fruit. Rainier cherries are quite expensive compared to red cherries. Even though the price remains high, people don’t mind shelling out some extra dollars to enjoy the sweetness and nutritional values of the fruit.
National Rainier Cherry Day timeline
Settlers from Europe bring cherries to America.
Modern-day cherry production starts in Michigan.
Marasca cherries start appearing in the desserts of the country's finest restaurants.
Rainier cherries are created at Washington State University.
National Rainier Cherry Day FAQs
Why are Rainier cherries expensive?
Rainier cherries bruise easily and are also more likely to be damaged by wind and rain. The supply of Rainier cherries is also nowhere near as large as the traditional dark red cherry. That’s why they are so expensive.
Why are they called Rainier cherries?
The name of this cherry comes from Washington State’s largest mountain, Mount Rainier.
Are Rainier cherries in season?
Rainier cherries are in season from May through June in California and June through August in Washington.
How to celebrate National Rainier Cherry Day
Eat them fresh
Have a bowl of cold Rainier cherries for breakfast on National Rainier Cherries Day. Rich in antioxidants, this fruit will give you a boost of energy to go about your day.
Visit a cherry farm
If you are in Washington, consider visiting a Rainier cherry farm. Orchards and farms often organize walks for visitors.
Pour yourself a drink
Wines made from Rainier cherries are quite popular, too. Pour yourself a glass of this delicious wine to enjoy the day in style.
5 Facts About Cherries That Will Blow Your Mind
Rainier cherries are bigger in size
Rainier cherries are sweeter and bigger than red cherries.
Cherries come in many varieties
There are some 1,000 varieties of cherries.
A cherry tree is bountiful
An average cherry tree can bear up to 7,000 cherries.
Charles V loved cherries
King Charles V of France planted around 1,000 cherry trees in his garden.
They originated far from America
Cherries are believed to have originated somewhere between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
Why we love National Rainier Cherry Day
It’s a seasonal fruit
Rainier cherries are available only during the summer months, which makes them very precious. This day celebrates the much-loved summer fruit.
It has an interesting history
Rainier cherries tell the story of a successful hybrid experiment. It’s both a natural and human-made wonder.
It’s all about cherries
Cherries are a common ingredient in cakes, pies, tarts, ice creams, and drinks. Today also celebrates the versatility of this wonder fruit.
National Rainier Cherry Day dates