Boasting a low glycemic index and an increased level of antioxidants, cherries are consistently identified by shoppers as one of the healthiest produce items. They are also a flavorful source of potassium and bioactive compounds. While there are many different types of cherries to choose from, Rainier Fruit Company continues to invest in high-flavor varieties grown in the best locations. This nutritious fruit requires a lot of protection and planning to make its way to the shelf, and Rainier employs multiple cutting-edge advancements to achieve this goal.
Rainier’s cold chain starts directly in the field and is unique to the industry. Immediately after the cherries are picked, they are put into hydrocoolers and washed with cold water to extort the heat left in them from the orchard. The cherries are then loaded onto refrigerated trucks and taken to the warehouse, where they are washed again in cold water and packed in cold temperatures to ensure the customer gets the freshest cherry possible.
One method Rainier optimizes to protect its cherries is shade cloth netting. This netting helps keep the orchard cooler on warm days, protects from bird damage, and mitigates wind in the field. Hot summer days can cause stress to plants and slow the growth of cherries. Shade cloth netting lowers the temperature around the plant by blocking out radiant heat. The shade cloth also helps keep Rainier’s employees cool, all while creating better conditions for the fruit.
Diversification of growing locations is necessary to protect the supply and quality of Rainier’s cherry program. That is why Rainier has orchards extending from the Oregon border all the way to the Canadian border, giving the grower an advantage when it comes to potential impacts from Mother Nature. Rainier carefully picks the location of each of its ranches to ensure they have the best microclimate for growing cherries—some factors include soil health, water access, and timing of harvest. All of this careful planning in association with the right microclimate creates the best-quality cherries!