Have you ever walked into the grocery store, looking for your favorite fruit that you just bought last week and you can't find it. You walk up to the nearest produce worker and ask them where it is, only to see the dreaded words "they are out of season". Either one of two things happens next. Either your heart sinks and you slowly stroll away. Or you wonder how can anything be out of season, isn't everything always available. In a country where you can buy apples, oranges, asparagus, etc year round, people tend to lose sight of the seasonality of produce. Not everything, even in our day and age can be available year round. One of those things you have to enjoy in season only is the cherry.
When Does Cherry Season End?
Typically the last you will see of cherries is around Labor Day, earlier or later depending on the year and the harvest. The last cherries come from the Pacific Northwest. The harvest has been extended in recent years thanks to companies like Stemilt Growers and Hood River Cherry Company.
Hood River Cherry Company
The orchards of Hood River are amongst the highest in elevation in the Northwest. This results in an extended growing season. They have three varieties of cherries - Sweetheart, Skeena, and Lapin that can be harvested as late as September 1st.
Further north in the state of Washington, Stemilt Growers have orchards at high altitudes as well. In August they release their Half Mile Closer to the Moon Cherries. They are grown between 2,500 and 3,200 feet at Amigos Orchards - where the days are warm, but not super hot and the nights are cool. This helps to produce a firm, flavorful, and sweet cherry. They grow Skeena, Sweetheart, and Staccato cherries.
Is There Any Other Time Cherries are Available?
There is no stendy supply of fresh cherries that we can import from other countries. You have to consider that cherries don't last as long as other fruits like apples and oranges. You can't store cherries in cold storage for months like you easily can with apples. During the winter months you may see some fresh cherries imported from Chile. Buyer beware - you are going to buy high prices for these cherries and the quality is not going to match the price. Usually they are very short lived and not carried by all grocery stores. Dried cherries can be found year round in both sweet and tart varieties - this is a way to get your cherry fix when they are not in season. Dried cherries are not as cheap as other dried fruits like cranberries and raisins, so look for sales or buy in bulk to save money. Also canned cherries are available year round as well.
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