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National Rainier Cherry Day

Summertime wouldn’t be summertime without delicious cherries. And Rainer cherries are the queen of them all! These red, juicy cherries are especially wonderful as a quick snack on a hot summer day. Lucky for us there are a number of health benefits that make them even more desirable!

Named after Washington’s largest mountain, Rainer cherries are grown in the Pacific Northwest and are available from June through August.  These sweet cherries pack a powerful punch when it comes to beneficial vitamins and nutrients. Along with coconut water, cherries are a wonderful source of naturally-occurring potassium and as well as plenty of vitamin C.

Depending on the exact growing location, the sugar content may appear to be quite high, but it’s not as bad as it looks. One cup of Rainer cherries, equivalent to 21-22 cherries, contains approximately 3g of fiber and enough glucose-lowering phytochemicals to make them safe even for diabetics.

Despite their sweetness, they have a glycemic index score of 22 which is significantly lower than other fruits – apricots (57), grapes (46), peaches (42) and blueberries (40) – making them an excellent snack for those wanting to maintain stable glucose levels.

And it’s not just us humans that enjoy the wonderful flavor of these summertime cherries, the birds love them as well! Growers go to great lengths to protect their crops from birds including hanging reflective tape off the trees, placing large nets over the orchards and posting artificial falcons that fly overhead as a deterrent.

Rainer cherry trees are often planted between dark cherry trees to provide a different pollen source during the cherry bloom stage. In fact, most cherry varieties require two sources of pollen to attract the bees needed for pollination. 

Rumor has it that we have it pretty good in the US when it comes to eating these delicious fleshy fruits. Although they are a bit more pricey than other cherry varieties, the flavor is so rich, sweet and unmistakable that it’s worth the temporary splurge. In Japan, Rainer cherries are said to cost upwards of $5 each (yep – EACH)! So next time you see the price tag on a bag of Rainer’s, consider yourself lucky!

Go grab a bag and start munching!