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Northwest Sweet Cherry Season is Now Underway

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SOURCE Northwest Cherries

Earlier than in seasons past, the 2014 crop proves to be the juiciest yet

YAKIMA, Wash., June 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2014 crop of Northwest sweet cherries is now arriving on grocery store shelves earlier than the past several years, putting the classic summertime fruit front and center for the Fourth of July holiday. With consistently warm weather and sunny days in the Northwest growing regions, growers are expecting a benchmark year for flavor, size and color, so consumers can enjoy their delicious sweet cherries in a variety of ways throughout the summer and beyond.

Northwest Cherries Are Here!

"There are so many elements that contribute to a successful sweet cherry season, from the natural resources here in the Northwest to the weather that changes each year," said James Michael, the vice president of marketing - North America for the Northwest Cherry Growers, a growers' organization representing Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah, which together produce two-thirds of the nation's entire sweet cherry crop. "This year everything perfectly aligned to turn out an early and delicious crop to showcase the best cherry characteristics – their deep red color and large fruit size – and we're looking forward to continuing to provide consumers with excellence fruit through the end of August."

Sweet cherries offer so much more than just their delicious taste. Published research points to the health benefits of sweet cherries, including a recently released study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The study discovered that consuming sweet cherries, such as the famous Bing cherry, can help prevent chronic inflammatory diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, arthritis and cancer. These powerful superfruits also contain melatonin, which may increase one's quality of sleep.

The Northwest is known for seven regional varieties including Bing cherries, the most popular cherry in North America, and the unique golden-blushed Rainiers, born at Washington State University in 1952 and celebrated each year on July 11 as National Rainer Cherry Day. Other popular varieties include the deep dark Skeenas, dark red Sweethearts, juicy sweet Tietons, heart-shaped Chelans and late-season Lapins. Aside from the light-hued Rainier (whose juice does not stain!), consumers can typically spot sweet cherries by their darker red skins – in general, the darker, the sweeter!

A beloved Independence Day treat for all-American pies with less sugar or eating fresh out of hand, sweet cherries can also be enjoyed year round by simply rinsing and freezing, as well as canning or drying. A complete collection of both fresh cherry and cherry preservation recipes is available at www.nwcherries.com.

For more information on sweet Northwest Cherries, seasonal recipes, health information and more, visit www.nwcherries.com.

About Northwest Cherries and Washington State Fruit Commission
Washington State Fruit Commission is a growers' organization funded by fruit assessments to increase awareness and consumption of regional stone fruits. The organization is dedicated to the promotion, education, market development, and research of soft fruits from Northwest orchards. It began in 1947 and has since grown to include five states – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana. For more information, visit www.nwcherries.com or www.wastatefruit.com.

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