Dark Sweet Cherries
Dark sweet cherries are drupes, or fleshy stone fruits. There are many varieties of dark-sweet cherries, each planted to fit a certain climate and growing window. The main dark-sweet cherry varieties at Stemilt are: Brooks (first to ripen), Chelan, Garnet, Sequoia®, Bing, Lapins, Skeena, Sweetheart, and Staccato® (last to harvest).
Bing is the most well-known sweet cherry variety and was named after an orchard foreman named Ah Bing. Stemilt grows dark sweet California cherries and Washington cherries , which allows for a continuous supply of your favorite fruit all summer long.
Exterior: Red, dark red, or mahogany to almost black; round to heart-shaped fruits with a green stem
Interior: Firm, solid and deep red to purple flesh Eating
Experience: Sweet and juicy with a hint of acid; each bite offers a little crunch thanks to the fruit’s firmness
How To Use Dark Sweet Cherries
Fresh eating, salads, freezing, sauces, chutneys, and desserts
When Can I Find Dark Sweet Cherries
Cherry harvest season starts in early May for Stemilt with our California cherries. In June, we start harvesting Washington cherries, and continue until the last cherries are picked from our high-elevation orchards in early September. Find Stemilt dark-sweet cherries in stores from May through early September.
Look For The Ladybug
You can easily find Stemilt cherries because each bag, clamshell, or other package proudly wears our World Famous Cherries logo (PLU #4045). Our organic cherries are available under the Artisan Organics label (PLU #9045). In July and August, look for our premium Kyle’s Pick cherries and Half Mile Closer to the Moon cherries in your stores.
Dark Sweet Cherry Fun Facts
- The word "cherry" comes from the French word "cerise."
- Stemilt is the nation's largest supplier of sweet cherries.
- Broadway in New York shifts west at East 10th Street because a cherry tree once stood there.
- Cherries are believed to have originated in the area between the Black and Caspian Seas in Asia Minor around 70 B.C.
- There are two main types of cherries: sweet and tart. Tart cherries are harvested mechanically for processing into cans/sauces. They are also known as pie cherries.
Stemilt grows a wide variety of cherries, each for a certain harvest window or growing locale. Learn more about our favorite cherries we grow:
The Brooks cherry variety was developed at the University of California-Davis. Brooks is a red cherry variety with well-balanced sweetness. It’s also very tolerant of hot climates and is the first sweet cherry variety to ripen in both California and Washington state.
Born in 1971 by Washington State University researcher Tom Toyama, the Chelan cherry is a cross between the Stella and Beaulieu varieties. Chelan cherries have a mahogany red skin and sweet flavor. The Chelan cherry variety is one of the first varieties to be harvested in Washington state each summer.
Introduced by California breeder Marvin Nies, Garnet is a large cherry with excellent flavor. There are several strains of this variety, but all produce a uniformly red cherry with a glassy exterior and short stems. Garnet cherries are available from Stemilt in May.
The Bing cherry was developed in the 1870’s by horticulturalist Seth Lewelling and his Chinese foreman Ah Bing, for whom the variety is named after. Bing is the leading sweet cherry variety in the United States. Stemilt grows Bing cherries in both California and Washington state.
Developed by researchers at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia, the Lapin cherry variety is a result of a Van and Stella cherry cross. Lapins were named after Dr. Karl Lapins, a pioneer in cherry breeding. This super-sweet cherry is available from Stemilt during the month of July from Washington state.
Discovered by researchers at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia, in the mid-1990’s, the Skeena cherry variety is a cross between the Bing, Stella, and Van varieties. Skeena cherries have a deep mahogany color and sweet flavor with lower acid levels than other dark-sweet cherry varieties. Skeena is a late-harvesting cherry variety that is available in mid-July from Washington state.
The Sweetheart cherry variety was discovered by researchers at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia. Sweetheart is a cross between the Van and Newstar cherry varieties. Like their name implies, Sweetheart cherries are heart-shaped. Sweetheart cherries are known for having high sugar levels and are available from mid-July to mid-August from Washington state.
The Staccato cherry variety was discovered by researchers at the Agriculture Canada Research Station in Summerland, British Columbia. A late-ripening and super-sweet cherry variety, Staccato is harvested in the middle of August in Washington state. Stemilt holds the exclusive rights to grow and market this variety in the United States.
Developed by researchers at Bradford Genetics in Le Grand, California, Sequoia is actually a group of early-season cherry varieties that resulted from multiple crosses. Warmerdam Packing in California holds the rights to this cherry variety, but Stemilt has a sublicense to grow Sequoia cherries in Washington state. This sweet and juicy cherry is available from Stemilt in early June.
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