The History of Cherries

The History of Cherries

Cherries are a part of Americana. From George Washington chopping down the cherry tree to the cherry trees that bloom each year in Washington, D.C., they have become a part of our way of life. No holiday meal would ever be complete without a slice of grandma's famous cherry pie. Because of their popularity, cherries have become a staple crop in states like California and Michigan. They are relatively easy to grow and harvest. The best thing about cherries is that they are full of nutrients and add the sweetest flavors to any dish they are included in.

Where Do Cherries Come From?

The area between the Caspian and Black Seas in Asia Minor is incredibly fertile. Cherries grew abundantly throughout the area. The Greeks began to explore ways to cultivate cherries and grow them in large quantities. The Romans continued to expand on their ideas and continued to increase production, expanding their growing areas as well as their numbers at harvest time. It is believed that birds carried the pits  of the cherry tree into Europe where they flourished and became a popular foodstuff. As cherries became more popular in European countries, people began including them in their diet on a regular basis.

fresh cherries, Sunrise Fresh

Types of Cherries

There are many different types of cherries.  Both Tart and Sweet varieties of cherrys are popular in desserts.  Tarts are a lighter red, while Sweet varieties, including Bings, are a very deep red color.  Rainier cherries are more of a golden color with a slightly red tint. Although highly prized and more expensive than the deeper red varieties, Rainiers are so named as they originally were bred in Mt. Rainier, WA and were used as pollinators for the sweet red varieties, but are now a great tasting ‘eating’ cherry on their own.  Almost every variety of cherry is high in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. They contain massive amounts of fiber and, once dried, have a unique texture that adds to almost any recipe you add it to. Each variety of cherry offers a unique and identifiable flavor that enhances any dish or makes an incredibly delicious snack on its own.

Coming to America

When the first settlers came to America in the 1600s, they brought cherry pits  with them. Because of their smaller size, French settlers planted cherry trees in their gardens. Cities like Vincennes and Detroit were well-known for their small groves of cherry trees and the delicious foods that were made using them. The cherries that came to the United States were of two distinct species, the Tart Cherry, known in Latin as ‘prunus cerasus’ and the Sweet species: ‘prunus avium’. 

Once cherries had gained a foothold in America, they spread like wildfire across the country. From the east coast to Michigan and further west toward California, cherry orchards began to spring up everywhere. Cherries have continued to evolve through cross-breeding and are grown throughout the lower 48 States.

Harvesting fresh cherries, Sunrise Fresh

A Part of the American Culture

Since George Washington took the first swing with his ax to take down the cherry tree in the 1700s, cherries have held a special place in the hearts of Americans. They have been interwoven in the fabric of a culture that makes America what it is. From delicious cherry pie and cobbler to dried cherries from Sunrise Fresh, cherries have become one of our country's favorite foods. They add flavor, color, texture, fiber and an abundance of nutrients.

Some of the most famous cherry trees are those that blossom in our nation’s capitol every Spring - the famous Cherry Trees of the National Mall.  These trees originally were planted as a gift from the people of Japan to the United States and numbered over 3,000 trees of 12 different varities. 

At Sunrise Fresh, all of our dried cherries are harvested at the peak of ripeness  so they contain the most nutrients and the very best flavor. Every type of cherry we produce can be eaten on its own as a snack or used as an ingredient in one of many deliciously different recipes. All of our fruit products are 100% natural with no additives, preservatives or  added sugars. We offer our products to consumers via re-sealable bags and also to wholesale vendors and retail outlets that want to provide only the best to their customers.