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!