|rainer cherry season|
While bitter cherries and their juice have many great health benefits, one of the most pleasant things to do with a fresh, in-season cherry is to eat it. For this reason, Rainer cherries will always have their place in the world of cherries; Rainers are generally acknowledged as the sweetest, most delicious cherries you can buy.
As you might expect after tasting a rainer cherry, they are also one of the most difficult cherries to grow, and they can be some of the most expensive cherries to buy. Some places in Japan charge more than a dollar for a single Rainer cherry. In the U.S. they can typically be bought in bulk for under $6/pound.
If you are looking to buy rainer cherries, keep in mind the fact that not all rainers are equal. Just because it bears the name rainer does not mean it is worth paying an outrageous price for. Rainers were originally developed by Harold Fogle at Washington State University, when he crossed Bing cherries and Van cherries. However, the University did not trademark Rainers, and therefore anyone can grow them.
The quality of a Rainer cherry is often indicated by its color and is a product of how much direct sunlight it received while growing. Many farmers try to increase production and make a greater profit by placing their trees closer together and putting reflective surfaces on the ground. This produces cherries with good color, but the flavor is usually lacking.
When looking for good color in Rainer cherries, you should look for cherries that have a creamy yellow color. This color in other cherries can indicate being under-ripened, but do not let it fool you in the Rainer, where it is a sign of the sweetest cherry on Earth. However, even if the cherries you are considering buying have good color, you should try and find out what conditions they were grown under.
While California does produce some Rainers, the biggest producer in the country is by far Washington, which produces about 4000 tons every year. Rainers are only considered to be in season in the months of June and July. Their short season and the months of preparation and care required are just more reasons they can be so expensive.
However, if you are a true cherry aficionado, there is no experience greater than biting into a delicious Rainer picked at the peak of its season and grown under ideal conditions. If you live in an area in which cherry trees can grow and be productive, growing your own Rainer cherries can be a very rewarding hobby. Just keep in mind that losing part (typically about a quarter) of your crop to the birds is inevitable.