Have you ever heard about Rainier cherries? If not, then you’re definitely missing out on a premium type of cherry that might not be a frequent treat in your local grocery store but among the richest in flavor.

The red-flushed, juicy, tender and cream cherries are perfect for all cherry lovers. Let’s understand them in detail, including when they bloom, when in season, where to buy them and how they taste, among others.

What are Rainier cherries?

Rainier cherries are a cultivar of sweet cherry that is named after Mount Rainier, a large mountain in the state of Washington, USA. They are known for their distinctive yellow or golden color with a bright red blush and are typically larger and sweeter than other cherry varieties.

Rainier cherries have a delicate, juicy texture and a complex, honey-like flavor that is highly sought after by cherry lovers.

Rainier cherry season in the United States

Rainier cherries are typically in season from late May to early August and are grown primarily in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.

Rainier cherries history

The cherry was developed by a researcher in Washington State University in the 1950s when the Van and Bing varieties were crossed. Consequently, it is likely that the cherry was named after the great Mount Rainier in Washington State.

Where do Rainier cherries grow best?

Rainier cherries are primarily grown in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. This area includes parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia, Canada. The cool, temperate climate and well-drained soil in this region provide ideal growing conditions for Rainier cherries.

The trees require a certain amount of winter chill to produce fruit and are sensitive to extreme heat and cold, so they tend to thrive in areas with mild summers and cold winters. However, with proper care and management, they can also be grown in other regions with similar climate and soil conditions.

When do Rainier cherry trees bloom?

The blooming period is normally in the spring, usually between late March and early April, depending on the climate and weather conditions in the growing region. The trees produce clusters of white or pink blossoms that are highly fragrant and attract bees and other pollinators to help fertilize the flowers.

After the blossoms are pollinated, the fruit begins to develop, and Rainier cherries typically ripen in late May through early August. The exact timing of blooming can vary from year to year and also depends on the specific growing location and environmental factors such as temperature and rainfall.

The taste of Rainier cherries

Rainier cherries are tender and juicy but definitely sweeter than dark red cherries since they have a slightly higher content of fiber and sugar.

Where to buy Rainier cherries in the United States

Rainier cherries are typically available at grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and specialty food stores during their peak season, which is from late May to early August in the United States. The Pacific Northwest region, particularly Washington State, is the primary growing area for Rainier cherries.

However, many grocery stores throughout the country import Rainier cherries during the peak season, so it is worth checking your local grocery store or farmer’s market to see if they have them in stock.

Here are some popular grocery store chains in the United States that where you can find and buy Rainier cherries during their peak season:

  • Whole Foods Market
  • Trader Joe’s
  • Costco
  • Kroger
  • Safeway
  • Albertsons
  • Fred Meyer

Where to buy a Rainier cherry tree in the United States

You can find the trees in most tree nurseries across the US. Alternatively, you can buy Rainier cherry tree seeds from stores that offer homegrown cherry tree seeds.

For instance, you can obtain 80 homegrown cherry tree seeds from sellers on Amazon for about $25.

How to make use of Rainier cherries

Rainier cherries can be consumed straight out of hand but it’s highly recommended that you consume them with other recipes.

Use them as topping over desserts and pancakes or try incorporating them into your favorite recipes.

The price of Rainier cherries

The average price of a bag of Rainier cherries is around $12 to $17. For instance, the Pacific Northwest USA Rainier cherries on Amazon from the Chukar Cherries Store go for $12.95 as of April 2023.

Please check the US cherry price insights for the overall view of how the prices have performed over the recent years, including export prices and values, wholesale and import prices.

Rainier cherries are loved in the commercial markets and on every 11th July, cherry enthusiasts across the U.S. celebrate the National Rainier Cherry Day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most common questions by enthusiasts of Rainier cherries.

How big does a Rainier cherry tree get?

Rainier cherry trees can grow up to 30 feet tall in ideal growing conditions, but they are often pruned to a smaller size for easier maintenance and fruit harvesting. The size of the tree depends on several factors, including the growing location, soil type, climate, and management practices. Rainier cherry trees grown in commercial orchards are maintained at a height of 8 to 12 feet, which allows for easier harvesting and better fruit quality. Home gardeners may also choose to prune their trees to a smaller size to fit their growing space and harvesting needs.

What do Rainier cherries do for the body?

Rainier cherries are an excellent source of antioxidants that aid in safeguarding the cells of the body. In addition, they are known to have anti-inflammatory properties since they contain vitamins C and A, and anthocyanins. Fibers in Rainier cherries help with digestion as well as with the regulation of sugar.

Where do Rainier cherries grow best?

The cherries thrive on well drained, loamy, sandy, and moist soil. In the US, you can identify a convenient place to grow them through the appropriate plant hardiness zone as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Currently, people that live within the USDA plant hardiness zone 5 through 8 can grow Rainier cherries.

When to plant a Rainier cherry tree?

It is advisable to plant in early fall or spring when the soil is moist. However, Rainier cherry trees can still bloom in other periods if the soil is properly irrigated and manured.