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Rainier (pronounced: // - ray-NEAR) is a cultivar of cherry. It was developed in 1952 at Washington State University by Harold Fogle, and named after Mount Rainier. It is a cross between the Bing and Van cultivars.
Rainiers are sweet cherries with a thin skin and thick creamy-yellow flesh. The cherries are very sensitive to temperature, wind, and rain. About 1/3 of a Rainier cherry orchard's crop is eaten by birds.
Rainiers are considered a premium type of cherry, and sell for $5 per pound or more in the USA and as much as a dollar each in Japan, as of 2001. However, more recently, when they are in season, they normally cost 3 to 5 dollars per pound in the USA, and a little more abroad, but not excessively (e.g., 18000KRW for 2lbs in Korea, or approximately 8USD/lbs).
The standard root stock for the Rainier cherry is the Mazzard cherry, a wild or seedling sweet cherry used as grafting stock. Mature Rainiers reach a height of 30 to 35 feet and are widely adaptable to a variety of soil types. Trees should be well spaced to provide maximum sun exposure for individual branches, ensuring fully developed, sweet, ripe fruit at harvest time. Rainiers will produce fruit in 3 to 5 years, with a bloom period in early April. The creamy light yellow to medium yellow-orange fruit develops a red blush and is ready to harvest late-June through early-July. Rainier cultivars require pollination. Typical pollinators are the Bing, Van, Lapins, Black Tartarian and Lambert cultivars. Rainiers grow best in USDA Zones 4-8.
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