Like Heinen’s, family roots run deep at Stemilt World Famous Fruit, the growers of our incredible cherries. Six generations deep, in fact.
Since the first fruit trees were planted in 1914 by Thomas Mathison on scenic Stemilt Hill overlooking the majestic Columbia River in Wenatchee, Washington, family values have remained at the forefront of this famous fruit. Over the last 100+ years, the orchards have expanded, technology has improved and new fruit varieties have been introduced, but one thing hasn’t changed: the Mathison family’s commitment to growing the best fruit in the world.
Today, the fifth and sixth generations of Mathisons guide Stemilt into the future with new and innovative growing practices as well as packing and shipping advancements that result in the best-of-the-best cherry crop in your Heinen’s grocery cart.
Cherry Season in Full Swing
Right now, we’re enjoying the peak of Washington State cherry season and our friends at Stemilt are supplying us with top-of-the-crop cherries from the best locales on the West Coast.
With cherry orchards strategically located at varying altitudes and stretching from as far south as Southern California, north through Washington State, to the Canadian Border; Stemilt is able to deliver premium-quality cherries to our stores later in the season than anyone else.
Stemilt’s unique orchards begin around 700 feet above sea-level and climb high into the mountains up to the famous ‘Amigos’ orchards at 2,500 feet and above sea-level. The higher the elevation the later in the season the cherries are ready for harvest, allowing for a longer cherry season than anyone else. That means more great tasting cherries at Heinen’s every summer!
With so much innovation in terms of location and growing practices, we knew we had to pay our friends at Stemilt a visit to see the magic for ourselves, and we were far from disappointed. Over the years our Produce Teams have made the trip out the Washington State to learn the ins and outs of all things cherries. From meeting with the Mathison family to picking cherries in the farms to touring the packaging and harvesting facilities, our team got a first-hand feel for what it takes to produce the most delicious cherries.
Look for Stemilt Cherries at Heinen’s today!
Dark sweet cherries are drupes, or fleshy stone fruits. There are many varieties of dark-sweet cherries, each planted to fit a certain climate and growing window.
Sweet Cherry Characteristics
- Exterior: Red, dark red, or mahogany to almost black; round to heart-shaped fruits with a green stem
- Interior: Firm, solid and deep red to purple flesh Eating
- Experience: Sweet and juicy with a hint of acid; each bite offers a little crunch thanks to the fruit’s firmness