Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Whisked away to cherry land

I don't often blog about my job, but this is too fun to pass up. This was the third year Whole Foods Market is celebrating Cherry Fest in stores, so we decided to take 3 fantastic bloggers up to visit the Rainier Fruit Company's cherry fields in Yakima, Washington.

The trip was a total blast (read my recap on the Whole Foods Market blog here). The bloggers were great (shout out to Gaby, Anjali and Meghann!), Rainier was so accommodating, and a few of my produce-savvy WFM colleagues made the trip the perfect combination of learning, delicious tasting and fun. 
Whole Foods Market field inspectors use sizers like the one pictured above to see how the cherries are measuring up

One of the coolest parts? Riding in a helicopter! Their farms are all over the state of Washington, so Rainier has a couple helicopters they use to get around. I was surprised at how smooth the ride was. 

Also, it was neat to watch their preferred method of protecting the fields from birds- falcons! They have a few falconers on staff who go to the fields each day and use falcons to scare the birds off. It was amazing to watch Jacob fly! (Yes, Jacob was named after Twilight). 

We ate an insane amount of cherries, both right off the trees and in a side-by-side taste test (my favorite varieties are rainier and sweethearts, in case you were interested).
Walking way, I have a new appreciation for cherries. I was hoping to whip up some amazing recipe to share, however I never could get past eating the cherries fresh, except to add them to a bowl of yogurt and granola for breakfast. Trust me, I'm having major blogger guilt. But, I have to say as someone who is driven so strongly by what I see in the markets and featured in my favorite magazines, it was such a pleasure to get to see one of my favorite fruits at the source. Hoping this happens again very soon!


Bun Baker said...

Wow, never realized there was that much variety in Cherries. Fun trip - can't wait for you to post some Cherry recipes when you get the chance!

Nicole said...

I read Meghann's blog and I swore that was you in her pictures...now I know it was!

Christine said...

That looks wonderful! I was in Washington a couple of years ago during July, and the cherries were unbelievably good.

Lindsay said...

Haha you spotted me Nicole! It was fun having a sneak appearance on her blog - I love it :)

Christine, what part of Washington did you visit? Any favorite varieties?