A frosty start to spring along with the heavy rains made it a challenge for this year’s crop of sweet cherries to flourish across the Northwest, but this local superfood favorite has made it to our grocery stores and farmers markets in time for summer.
To celebrate the short but sweet season for cherries, the advocacy group Northwest Cherry Growers is holding a cherry-featured culinary contest on Instagram through July 31 with a range of prize categories and criteria. This includes Professional ($500 gift card), Amateur ($300 gift card), Most Over-the-Top ($200 gift card), and 5 Ingredients or Less ($100 gift card). All winners will receive a shipment of dried Northwest-grown sweet cherries. The full details of the judging criteria and rules to enter are online. The Instagram feed for Northwest Cherry Growers is @nwcherrygrowers and the contest hashtag is #MakeItCherry.
Beyond enjoying cherries as they are, they’re a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savory dishes. The Northwest Cherry Grower website is a handy resource guide for incorporating them into desserts, hearty entrees, as well as preservation methods like freezing or drying. The regional cherry season lasts until August and the local growers are eager to share methods of being able to enjoy this delicious summer treat all year round.