Washington would not have chopped down one of our cherry trees

cherries
Photo: OSU extension.

(Washington state offices, including the Washington State Department of Natural Resources are closed today in observance of  President’s Day)

Did you know that February was declared cherry month, even though these tasty fruits don’t ripen until June and July in Washington state? Monday February 15 is President’s Day, and we tip our hats to our great national leaders… even the one that is said to have chopped down a cherry tree with his trusty hatchet.

But George Washington wouldn’t have chopped down a cherry tree on state trust lands in eastern Washington. He would have loved that these cherries help build our state’s public schools—and help us educate future leaders.

Trust land leased to grow cherries, other orchard crops and wine grapes produced more than $8.2 million for public school construction and other trust land beneficiaries in fiscal year 2015, which ended June 30, 2015. With the addition of revenue from other irrigated lands plus dryland and grazing areas, state trust lands generated more than $22 million.

The right cherry for the right place

Although one of the top varieties of cherries on state trust land is the ever popular Bing, there also were varieties specially bred at the Washington State University research center for areas of eastern Washington—with names such as Chelan, Benton and the long-popular Rainier. Cherries on state trust lands ripen from mid-June to the end of July.

  • Bing                      (June 30-July 5)
  • Rainier                 (July 5-10)
  • Benton                 (July 5-10)
  • Chelan                  (June 15-20)
  • Lapins                   (July 10-15)
  • Van                      (July 5-10)
  • Sweetheart         (July 20-30)

Just a few more months until Washington’s sweet cherry season arrives.

Cherries photo from Oregon State University extension.

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