The U.S.A. sweet cherry harvest starts every year in the Southern growing regions of California, working it's way gradually up the West Coast to Washington. It then continues North to the neighboring growing regions in Canada.
Kelowna, BC Canada: The Okanagan Valley with its fertile soil makes it not only suitable harvesting ground for sweet cherries, but its climate conditions allow for these cherries to ripen later, extending the season.
Washington: The growing regions of the Yakima Valley and Wenatchee area are famous for their cultivation of new cherry varieties.
Oregon: Fresh cherries from Oregon are sourced directly from The Dalles and its neighboring towns.
California: Early May in the Arvin/Bakersfield area marks the beginning of the cherry harvest each year.
The Coral Champagne cherry is a low-acid cherry that matures in the early season with Chelans. Corals are typically large, with dark flesh, and are similar to Bing in taste and susceptibility to rain-crack. With these characteristics it is one of the preferred varieties for export in the early California season.
The Chelan cherry is the earliest to ripen for the Pacific Northwest. It is a cross between the Stella and Beaulieu varieties and, taking after its Stella parent, it is less susceptible to rain-crack. The Chelan variety was developed in 1971 by Washington State University researcher Tom Toyama, who also developed the Tieton cherry in the same year. The Chelan cherry, while similar to Bing is not quite as sweet and has a slight heart-shape. Ripening two weeks before the Bing it is the most popular early season, export-quality dark red sweet cherry out of the Pacific Northwest. Typically available in early June through the end of June.
Maturing after Lapin and Bing varieties, the Sweetheart cherry is best known for its namesake heart shape as well as having great firmness that makes it preferred for shipping. It has dark red-skin and high sugar levels. The Sweetheart cherry variety was discovered by researchers at Summerland, BCís Agriculture Research Station.
The Lapin cherry is best known for its resistance to cracking. It was developed at the Agriculture Canada Summerland Research Station, and named for Dr. Karl Lapins who was a pioneer in cherry breeding. Dr. Lapins is noted for developing the Stella variety (Lapins are a cross between Stella and Van) in the 50s and 60s, which was the first of the self-fertile cherry varieties. The Lapin ripens after Bings in both California and the Northwest.
Developed at UC Davis, the Brooks variety of cherry is typically the first variety to ripen in California. It is a large, firm red cherry with a sweet taste and low acidity. With its early maturity and susceptibility to moisture cracking the Brooks is best suited for hot dry climates, such as those found in the early harvesting areas of California.
The Tulare cherry is the second commercial variety to mature in the California harvest, Though it is not as firm as the Bing cherry, the Tulare is known to be good for export with its resistance to cracking.
The Bing cherry is the standard by which all other varieties are compared. Developed in 1870 by horticulturist Seth Lewelling, it is named for his Chinese foreman Ah Bing. With the characteristics that make it successful for export, itís rich, sweet and juicy flavor also make it the leading commercial sweet cherry in North America.
Rainier is the most prominent of the blush cherry varieties. With its yellow skin and pink blush it is susceptible to showing bruising. Therefore careful handling at harvest and packing is required. Pack houses that specialize in blush varieties have separate operating systems and pack lines to provide the best quality available. Its distinctive taste and the careful attention paid to it through all growing stages are just some of the reasons why this great variety comes at a premium.
Aside from having access to many prominent packhouse labels, we have developed two private labels of our own: the Firecracker label, available in California, and the Far West label, available in the Pacific Northwest.
|Firecracker Label, available in California
||Far West Label, available in Oregon