Last updated on June 12th, 2015 at 04:35 pm
For many years, sweet cherries have been commercially classified in two ways at grocery stores—dark sweet and Rainier—but now, a new cherry has created cause for a new classification due to its sweet flavor. Debuting in select grocery stores mid-June, the new Skylar Rae brand Tip Top cultivar cherry was discovered by chance in a family-run Washington State orchard and is distinguished by its red and yellow bi-colored skin, firm texture and a flavor profile that makes it “The Sweetest Cherry You’ll Ever Eat.”
Grown and marketed exclusively by Stemilt Growers, the Tip Top cherry cultivar, which goes to market under the Skylar Rae brand, was granted its own varietal classification by the International Federation for Produce Standards and is the first cherry in years to be given its own price look-up (PLU) number. While Skylar Rae was released in a minuscule volume the last two years to a handful of grocery stores, 2015 marks the first season this cherry will be nationally available through select grocery stores. During the cherry’s short four-week season, from mid-June to mid-July, Stemilt estimates it will ship 20,000 units of Skylar Rae cherries, with plans to increase production in future years.
“A rarity in nature, Skylar Rae’s unique genetics and extremely high natural sugar content set it apart from other cherries—it truly is a treat from nature,” said West Mathison, Stemilt president and fifth-generation grower. “We are excited to introduce this special cherry to the world and encourage shoppers to pick up Skylar Rae cherries when they see them this summer because they won’t be around for long.”
The cherry was named in honor of the infant daughter of the Toftness family, which has been farming cherries at Tip Top Orchards for more than a decade and first discovered the cherry. In 2005, the Toftness’ infant daughter passed away. As the family was healing, they discovered a cherry never before seen growing in their orchard. The family felt it was meant to honor their daughter. When it came time to trademark a brand name for the fruit, it was a unanimous decision that the cherry should be called “Skylar Rae.”
The new cherry is grown exclusively on Stemilt orchards in Washington State. Skylar Rae cherries are available in two packaging options: a 1.25-lb. bag and a smaller 1-lb. clamshell carton for $5.99-$6.99, depending on the harvest window.