Red-and-gold jewels


There are few foods I love in this world more than Rainier Cherries.


It escapes me when I first discovered these delectable delights.  I might have been single in the mid-90’s grocery shopping for Lean Cuisine frozen “meals” when these striking red-and-golden jewels caught my eye.  It may have been after I married S.  (I actually did do the grocery shopping for our household for several years of our marriage.  But that information is for later posts.)  Although I cannot remember exactly when the love affair began, I know it changed me as only true love can, and I have never been the same since.


The problem with Rainier Cherries is that they are available for 4-8 weeks a year.  And if it is for 8 weeks, it is not continuous through that time.  Well, not in Missouri or New Mexico, at least, which are the places I have lived since my discovery of them.  They are usually prevalent in July, possibly beginning late in June.


But imagine my UTTER DELIGHT when my husband, S, brought home TWO POUNDS to me after his grocery shopping trip on June 8! 


My personality is complicated, but most people would consider me a controlled person.  There are, however, a few things in life that can cause me to make a complete fool of myself bring out a screech of delight from me.  Rainier Cherries on JUNE 8 would be one of those things.  (OK, the first time I see them every season would be one of those things, but JUNE 8????)


Where did you find these,” I breathlessly asked?  He had been to one of the warehouse price club stores that day.  They had them.  And even though it was June 8, they only cost $10 for two pounds.  (I have happily paid $9/lb when I have seen them early in the season at a grocery store.) 


This all happened outside our front door.  I may have been watering plants.  I may have just been sitting admiring all the blooming trees.  I may have been warming up because my house is notably cold.  I cannot remember because the cherries eclipsed all else.  I ripped the precious bag from his hands, sprinted into the house and put about a pound of them in a colander for cleaning.  I would like to tell you that the picture with this post was from that first pound of cherries, but alas, I did not care about taking pictures at this point.  The only thing in my brain was, “I have two pounds of Rainier cherries on June 8!  I can eat them for two months!  I can eat them now!”  I cleaned them as quickly as I could and gobbled down the pound.  I did not even try to savor every bite because I had another pound.  And did I mention that it was only June 8?


Oh, the delightful bliss.  My girls and I had just returned from a 2-week+ trip to visit family in another state.  Vacation–then cherries.  It was going to be a good summer.


The picture you see is from the second pound of cherries, which I ate the next day.  By this time I had enough control to see how beautiful they were in the bowl with the morning light coming in.  I grabbed my camera and got the picture, which I’m actually quite happy with.  (By the way, I do not alter my pictures other than occasional cropping.  I do not have any software to do so, and I do not have a clue how to do it anyway.  Those cherries looked just that good all by themselves!)


Tuesday came along, and I was happy enough.  My cherries were gone, but I could wait until Sunday when S went grocery shopping again.  And if there were a real crisis, I could go myself during the week. 


But NO!  NOT ONE!  S frequents three different shopping establishments.  None in any.  Often we he needs to pick up something during the week, so other establishments have been checked.  Nothing.  NOTHING!  My sad, greedy self is craving those cherries.  It is bad enough that I can only have them for such a short time each year, but to be falsely led to believe I would have a longer cherry season this year has been torturous.  Maybe, had I known, I would have been a little more careful about eating the first ones all at once.  (Maybe not. OK, there is not even a chance of that.)


Would it have been better if I had not had the first taste so early?  Maybe.  Maybe I would not be sitting in anguish each week for S to come home with cherries, only to be disappointed. 


BUT, there is good news.  The actual Rainier Cherry season is almost here.  I should be feasting on these little treasures within a week.  And it should last about 4 weeks.  The time is almost ripe.


By Louise Cannon