If you’re thinking that life is the pits, cheer up: May 26 is National Cherry Dessert Day!
It’s also National Blueberry Cheesecake Day, which is nice and specific. Cherry dessert, on the other hand? That could refer to anything. Cherry pie, cherry cobbler, chocolate-covered cherries…all of which we have already celebrated. A little more direction here would have been nice, especially since Tara and I are spending the night in a hotel room on the Oregon coast for a little much-needed R&R. (That’s rest and relaxation, not ravioli and rutabaga. Not everything has to do with food).
Cherries are native to Europe, western Asia, and northern Africa. The ancient Greeks and Romans were especially fond of cherries, as are little old ladies when three of them line up in a row on their penny slot machines. Early settlers brought cherries to America in the 17th century, where they flourished around the Great Lakes. The Pacific Northwest became another prime cherry growing area when Henderson Lewelling planted an orchard in western Oregon in 1847. The most famous sweet cherry variety, the Bing, got its start at Lewelling’s orchard, and was named after one of his Chinese laborers (not the search engine, contrary to popular belief). The Rainier cherry, another popular sweet variety (and my personal favorite), is a cross between a Bing and a Van. Today, 650 million pounds of cherries are produced in the U.S. Most of them are grown in two regions: Michigan (75% of the sour cherry crop) and the Pacific Northwest (60% of the sweet cherry crop). California, Utah, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and New York also grow cherries.
For the holiday, we stopped at an Arctic Circle in Newport, Oregon. Tara grew up with Arctic Circle fast-food restaurants, but there are only a handful in the whole state, none close by to where we live. It was my first time there, and I was impressed with the mushroom swiss burger and the fry sauce. Best of all, they had ice cream cones hand dipped in a hard cherry shell. Perfect! And because that might be stretching the definition of cherries, we also bought a pint of fresh cherries from a roadside stand on our way to the coast, and had some of those, as well. Either way, we covered all our cherry bases!
- Cherry on Top! (thetrendyvegan.blogspot.com)
- All You Need for Cherry Season (heydoyou.com)
- Cherry growers expect smaller crop, but larger fruit (oregonlive.com)