The sweetest cherry you’ll ever eat is coming soon to select supermarkets, and if that’s not enough to get you to try this new, Stemilt exclusive cherry variety, then allow me to formally introduce you to it and the very special story of its discovery.

Meet Skylar Rae® brand Tip Top cherries, a new, bi-colored cherry variety that has the highest sugar levels of any cherry grown commercially (between 23° to 25° Brix is the sugar content of an aqueous solution. One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution and represents the strength of the solution as percentage by mass Brix compared to Rainier cherries 17° to 23° Brix is the sugar content of an aqueous solution. One degree Brix is 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution and represents the strength of the solution as percentage by mass Brix), and a firm, crisp bite. It’s a a rare and sweet summertime treat that we are lucky enough to get to grow, and hopefully, a cherry that you’ll be able to try this summer or in the very near future.

The story of how Skylar Rae® cherries came to be is as special as the cherry itself. It was discovered growing by chance on a tree in the Toftness family’s Wenatchee, Washington orchard back in 2005. Chance discoveries like this are not unheard of in the fruit world, but rarely do they produce a cherry that is edible, let alone viable for commercial production. The Toftness family, who have been farming cherries for two decades, believe that the reason Skylar Rae® cherries had the flavors and qualities that growers want in new varieties, was because this was never meant to be an ordinary cherry, it was an extraordinary gift from Mother Nature.

You see, shortly before the discovery of this cherry, Troy and Kim Toftness suffered the unimaginable loss of their infant daughter, Skylar Rae. One rainy day in the orchard, Skylar Rae’s grandpa, Jack Toftness, was working in the orchard when his grief set in once again. He looked up to the sky with tears in his eyes to see a beautiful rainbow come down over the hill. The rainbow became a source of healing for him, and the whole family. Today, when the Toftnesses or their two children, Brock and Brylee see a rainbow, they know it’s Skylar Rae smiling down at them.

Not long after the emotional moment, the family noticed a new, different looking cherry on a tree they had planted a few years before. It was growing between blocks of Sweetheart and Rainier cherries, but was unlike either in flavor, color, and texture. Sure enough, this chance variety would eventually lead to the discovery and planting of a new brand of cherries – to be called Skylar Rae®, in order to honor the memory of the beloved Skylar Rae Toftness.

Fast-forward to today and the Toftness family picked Stemilt to help grow and market special Skylar Rae® cherries in North America. The parentage of the cherry is unknown but it is distinguished from other cherries by its golden yellow background color with partial to full orange-red blush covering it. Biting into the fruit offers a unique experience – it’s both firm and full of sugary sweetness – two things that up until this point, haven’t always gone together when it comes to golden-colored sweet cherries.

Because Skylar Rae® cherries are still so new, it will take a few years to get into large volumes and broad distribution. However, Skylar Rae® cherries (grown at Stemilt orchards in Washington State) will be available from mid-June to mid-July in select supermarkets nationwide. Keep your eye out for this sweet cherry, which is easily identified by the Skylar Rae® name and logo on both bags and clamshell packaging. We hope you can enjoy this rare summer treat soon, and look forward to bringing more Skylar Rae® cherries to you in the years to come!