When are Rainier Cherries in Season?

(Last Updated On: March 24, 2016)

Rainier Cherries

In a culture that expects everything at every mintue, there are some things you still have to wait for. You may be able to go to the grocery store and pick up an orange in the middle of summer, or an apple in the dead of winter, but what you can’t get year round is fresh cherries. Even more limited are Rainier cherries. My wife prefers them over all other cherries. They are super sweet and don’t stain your hands like the darker cherries. There is a lot to like about them, just not a lot of time to find them. I want to guide you through the Rainier season, so you know when to expect them. I wouldn’t want you to miss out on this short, sweet season.

Rainier Cherries Begin in California
The first Rainier cherries of the season will beginning showing up from California in late May to early June. There isn’t a huge supply of them and often the price is super high. They are only available briefly, then you may not see them in stores for a couple weeks until…

Washington Rainier Cherry Season
The state of Washington is definitely the Rainier state. When you think Rainier geographically, your mind should go straight to that Pacific state. This where the cherry orginated in 1952. It is a cross between the popular Bing cherry and the Van cherry. Late June is when the shipping of these cherries begins. The season lasts about until the beginning of August. A good year you got about 6-7 weeks to enjoys these delicate sweet cherries.

Do Other States Grow Rainiers?
Commercially speaking I have not heard of any state outside the west coast growing Rainiers. Michigan is third in cherry production but you rarely many Michigan rainiers. I do that Jollay Orchards in Coloma, Michigan grows some. If some other state could grow them well enough commercially then they would already be doing so.

Why are Rainier Cherries More Expensive?
One issue with the Rainier is that they bruise easily or the bruising shows up easier because of their lighter color. They are also more likely to be damaged by wind and rain. The supply of Rainier is nowhere near as large as more traditional dark red cherry. You also have to consider that people already pay more for them, so they probably will continue to pay more for them. If you want to learn more about why they are more expensive check out this informative article from the Seattle PI.

When are Rainier Cherries the Cheapest?
Look for sales in July. Typically around the Fourth of July I can find them on sale and pay as little as $2.99/pound.

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2 Comment

  1. Marlene Stegora says:

    usually I agree that they are sweeter but we bought some at Costco today that are not at all the sweetest. Do they ripen after being picked? Thanks

  2. Eric Samuelson says:

    They did not ripen off the tree, so if they are picked too early they won’t be as sweet. The best tasting Rainiers I tend to find around 4th of July.

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