Producer spotlights: organic cherries

This article was originally published in July 2014

LaPierre Farms organic Rainier cherries

Since 1989, PCC shoppers have anticipated the arrival of Mark LaPierre’s organic fruit throughout the summer.

If you’re lucky, you’ve tasted his nectarines and Bing cherries, and he’s most famous at PCC for his perfect organic blueberries (also available now). But his Rainier cherries are in stores for a few weeks and also are not to be missed.

LaPierre planted his first Yakima-area orchard, a 7-acre plot of Rainier cherry trees, 30 years ago, just a stone’s throw from the land his grandfather had farmed in grapes.

Developed in 1952 at Washington State University, Rainiers are prized for their exceptional sweetness and near-floral flavor. Their yellow and blushed red skin is thin and fragile, lending them to bruise easily. It’s best to eat them immediately, so you can savor the aromatic, creamy yellow flesh.

Read more and watch a video about LaPierre »

River Valley Organics Lapin Cherries

On their organic farm in north-central Washington, George and Apple Otte grow a variety of organic fruit. Their Gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Cameo apples and Bosc pears will be at PCC this fall, and right now, for just a few weeks, you’ll find their gorgeous, delectable Lapin cherries in our produce departments.

Lapins are some of the largest, juiciest cherries around. Their dark red skin is split-resistant, their flesh lighter red in color. Great for snacking, Lapins are long lasting when stored in a paper bag in the refrigerator.

The Ottes try to spread out the cherry harvest rather than picking all at once like some bigger, conventional farms. “The Lapin cherries don’t ripen up all at the same time, so we try to pick the cherries selectively at the right time and achieve more balance,” says Apple.

“There was never any doubt in our minds that we would go organic, because that’s what we believe in,” says Apple.” It feels good to grow organically — it’s the honorable thing to do.”

Watch a video of Apple Otte in her cherry orchard »

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