In many ways, Chukar’s method of preserving cherries is old fashioned. Cherries are picked by hand at local orchards, hydrocooled, and delivered to Chukar’s headquarters in Prosser where employees immediately sort and pit the fresh cherries. The cherries are then loaded into dryers which circulate warm air until they’re dried into nature’s perfect candy. The dried cherries are now ready to be dipped in chocolate, added to fruit & nut mixes, or bagged for baking and snacking. By the end of the summer, Chukar will have dehydrated over 175 tons of fresh Northwest cherries. While this method may seem simple, it is anything but common in the world of commercially dried fruit.
The difference between Chukar Cherries and many larger operations is in the details. Chukar’s location in the middle of Washington’s fruitful valleys makes the need for transportation minimal. Relationships with local growers ensure cherries are only picked when fully ripe, whereas cherries that will be transported long distances to sit on store shelves are often picked before they are ripe. Chukar also refuses to use preservatives or sulfites—both of which are common in much commercially dried fruit. In fact, cherries are the sole ingredient in Chukar’s dried Rainier, Bing, and Organic Tart cherries—just fruit, nothing added.
And the difference shows—Chukar’s dried cherries are plumper and the sweetness of the fruit is not overshadowed by the taste of added sugar or the potential side effects of preservatives. All Chukar products are authentically Northwest—locally grown and naturally made.
Chukar’s dried cherries and Northwest gifts are available online at chukar.com, at the company’s flagship store in Prosser, in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, and at a host of premier retailers.