Northwest Cherries Partners with Top U.S. Restaurants for Tree to Table Program

Restaurants across the county celebrate the arrival of Northwest-grown sweet cherries with exclusive menu items during the month of July

It’s fresh cherry season, but it won’t be for long. This summer’s celebration of cherries includes several by the Northwest Cherry Growers, a farmer’s organization that represents almost all of the fresh cherries consumers see on grocery store shelves today. Most cherries will be eaten straight from the bag, after all, they’re a treat in themselves, but with the help of notable chefs and restaurants across the country, one program called Tree to Table aims to show how cherries can make an easy splash in a variety of dishes.

Now in its fourth year of pairing fruit from the orchards with chefs across the country, the Northwest Cherry Growers has teamed up with 15 chefs and restaurants across the country. Each establishment, known for highlighting seasonal flavors, will showcase Northwest-grown sweet cherries in a signature dish throughout the month of July. Participating restaurants include nationally-recognized establishments such as Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, Spruce in San Francisco and Juliet in Boston among others.

“We’ve seen such an incredible response from restaurants with this program in the past and are looking forward to showcasing what the chefs have come up with this year,” said James Michael, with the Northwest Cherry Growers. “Most people think of cherries as a fresh snack or for only desserts, but they offer so much versatility in both sweet and savory preparations. Our hope is that their diners will be inspired by new flavor combinations and utilize them in their own dishes at home.”

With the exception of Rainier cherries, the darker the exterior, the sweeter the fruit. The sweet cherry varieties, especially those of Northwest, are known for their naturally high sugar content due to the extended hang time on the tree. The combination of the Northwest latitude (spanning Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana), nutrient-rich volcanic soil and unique climate create the perfect growing conditions for cherries resulting in an unmatched flavor profile.

Spruce is participating in the Tree to Table program this year showcasing cherries for dessert, Pistachio Mille Feuille de Brick made with cherries and Chantilly cream topped with Pistachio crumble. Spruce is a distinctive restaurant that reflects the charm of its surroundings and provides residents with a welcoming place in which to dine, socialize and relax. Chef Mark Sullivan’s California-inspired cuisine showcases the freshest and finest ingredients available. About 80 percent of the restaurant’s produce comes from SMIP Ranch, a private five-acre farm located in the hills above Woodside that grows vegetables, herbs, and other specialty crops exclusively for Bacchus Management Group’s family of restaurants. Spruce is located at 3640 Sacramento Street in San Francisco.

The Northwest Cherry Growers is a grower’s organization funded by fruit assessments to increase awareness and consumption of regional stone fruits. The organization is dedicated to the promotion, education, market development, and research of stone fruits from Northwest orchards. It began in 1947 and has since grown to include growers in five states – Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana. For more information, visit www.nwcherries.com or www.wastatefruit.com.

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