I am like a kid at Christmas time whenever I encounter a new variety of fruit I have yet to try. We had Christmas in July in my house last week when I got to try Skylar Rae cherries for the first time. This is a new variety of cherry that has the appearance of a Rainier. They came in a 1 lb clamshell container from Stemilt Growers. The container claims these are the sweetest cherries you’ll ever have. One bite backs up that claim.
How Are Skylar Rae Cherries Different from Rainiers?
One the outside these cherries may look like a Rainier. And there is a good reason for that. Skylar Rae cherries are believed to have originated from a cross between a Rainier cherry and a Sweetheart cherry. The difference from Rainiers in that they have a thicker outer skin, that give them more bite – something rarely seen in the lighter colored cherries. They also do not bruise as easy as Rainiers, which is a huge advantage. Last week I went to buy some Rainier cherries at my local Meijer store as they were on sale. However they were so bruised up I only walked out with a few – a big disappointment to my entire household. Skylar Rae cherries are less likely to disappoint you in this way.
A Cherry With a Story
I love when my fruit comes with a story. The one associated with Skylar Rae is a good, heartwarming one. The cherry was discovered at Tip Top Orchards in Wenatchee Heights in Washington. In 2004, Jack Toftness out in the orchard. His heart was heavy with the recent loss of a granddaughter, Skylar Rae who only lived for 49 days. It was a rainy day, but when the rain ended, a rainbow appeared. Jack decided to follow the rainbow to where he thought it would end. When he got there he saw a tree that did not look like the others. He let the tree grow and the next year it produced cherries unlike the other ones around it. This was the beginning of the Skylar Rae cherry named after the granddaughter who life was so fleeting but now her name lives on. You can read more about the story from the Fresh Plaza website.
Skylar Rae and Stemilt
Tip Top Orchards is actually a grower for Stemilt. Other orchards grow them for Stemilt as well. They were sold on the sweetness and the firmness of the cherry. This is the first year that the cherries have been sold outside of the state of Washington. In coming years volumes should continue to grow until they are available nationwide. They have been planting more trees in their orchard. It takes time for those trees to go into production. Stemilt says by 2020 they hope to have volumes as much as high as their Rainier cherries.
When are Skylar Rae Cherries in Season?
Skylar Rae cherries typically arrive in stores near the end of June. The season lasts for about a month – so get the while you can.
Where to Buy Skylar Rae Cherries?
Here is the short rundown of stores that I have had Skylar Rae cherries in the past. Check with the individual store for availability.
Whole Foods Market
The Fresh Market