Entries in cherry season (5)


Orondo Ruby Cherries are Ripe for the Harvest!

Just when you thought it'd never arrive, Orondo Ruby Cherry season is here at last! For the next few weeks, everyone here at the Griggs family orchards will be busy picking, preparing, and packaging your favorite cherries.

The Griggs did not make the distinct new fruit--they found it. One would assume the Orondo Ruby is a hybrid between a Bing and a Rainier cherry, but it isn't. The Orondo Ruby is in a class alone, with the sweetness and tart that brings a smile to everyone who tries them.

When you buy Orondo Ruby cherries, you are getting the best produce exclusive grower orchards have to offer. Sweet and tart, our cherries represent a flavor profile all their own, as unique as the area from which they are picked.

Cherry season is a very special time. Orondo Ruby cherries tell us that summer has arrived, if only for a few weeks. Sometimes, in the thick of a bountiful cherry season like this one, you just can't eat all of them...

...But you can keep the cherry season going all year long by preserving them in a variety of ways.  

If you want to keep your cherries fresh and refreshing, we'd suggest freezing the fruit. The best thing about freezing cherries is that it doesn't take the time that canning does, and it also keeps the nutritional value (and flavor) of the fruit intact.

The steps to freezing your cherries are pretty simple:


  1. Clean your cherries. You can use a fruit or vegetable spray cleaner, but a cold water rinse works just as well. Just make sure that any dirt or dust particles have been washed away. Gently pat them dry with a clean paper towel afterwards.
  2. Stem and pit your cherries. You want to keep your cherries as fresh as possible, so don't take the stems off until you're ready to process your fruit. If you want to, you can keep the pits in your cherries, but know you'll have to pit your cherries before using them in the future. If you pit your cherries in the freezing process, you can have the instant satisfaction of popping a frozen delight into your mouth. There are a few ways that you can pit cherries, but the easiest way is to slice the cherries in half and pull the pit out of the middle. If you've ever pitted an avocado, this is similar.
  3. The preliminary freeze. Prefreezing your cherries allows you to grab a few cherries at any time for a quick snack without having to chip away at a clump of cherries or to take the time to thaw your entire batch out. Once you have all of you cherries pitted, lay your cherry halves out on a cookie sheet with wax paper. Make sure they have a little space between so your cherries don't freeze together. Once you have your cherry halves (or whole cherries, if you want) on your cookie sheet, pop them into the freezer. Since not all freezers are alike, you can freeze them completely in 4-6 hours. Or, you can keep them in the freezer overnight just to be sure (but don't keep your cherries in the freezer uncovered too long or they might get freezer burn).
  4. Bag your cherries. Once you pull your frozen cherries out of the freezer, quickly place them into a ziplock bag and put them back into the freezer. If you let them get too warm, you could end up with a big hunk of cherries.


And that's it! Your delicious delights should last up to 6 months--making a perfect opportunity to use those last cherries in a holiday dessert!


Update from the Orchard (June 10th)

Attention Orondo Ruby fans everywhere - harvest 2015 is upon us! After the Wenatchee Valley delivered near-perfect cherry growing weather, the first of the Orondo Rubies are being picked with care and packed for you to enjoy. From the tree to the table is typically only four or five days which means your Orondo Rubies are super fresh, naturally sweet and undeniably juicy! Keep an eye out for Orondo Ruby cherries in your local grocery store. Let's hear it for cherry season! 


Meet Cam Clennon - Utility Player


It seems as though every organization has a utility player - a member of the team that dabbles in a little bit of everything. Meet Cam Clennon, the Orondo Ruby team member who is equal parts analyst, equal parts operations, and equal parts “we need some of this” person.

As analyst, during harvest season Cam pays close attention to the production of each block of trees. The data collected during harvest is integral to understanding the growth of our cherries, and how to improve each block in seasons ahead. An abundance of information is also critical to the development of next season’s projections - a painstaking task led by Cam each year.

Despite the number crunching, you’ll also find Cam with his “boots on the ground” at the packing shed, or out in the orchard. From helping out with packing, shipping and other orchard operations, Cam earns his utility title with earnest.

Cam’s depth in the Orondo Ruby cherry business also suits him perfectly as a liason between the marketing side of the house and the growing and operation side of things. Bridging the gap between the two can at times be more art than science - something Cam is perfectly suited for.

When not in the orchard or in the office, Cam enjoys spending time with his wife, daughter and soon to arrive baby boy. Whether it’s camping, boating or spending time in Chelan with family, Cam enjoys the recharge of taking advantage of family time.

Growing cherries is a diverse, challenging and rewarding work experience. Cam’s diverse skill set and fun-loving personality is a valuable part of our team. We all love what we do; growing Orondo Ruby cherries for all of our great customers. Thanks for being a part of our adventure. Cheers to summer! Cheers to Orondo Ruby cherries!



Update from the Orchard (June 16th)


The moment we've been waiting for, harvest 2014, is here! The first of many, this round of Orondo Rubies came from some of our younger trees. More exposed, the cherries in this area receive a lot of glorious sunshine which in turn develops the sugars a bit sooner. Either way, we're very excited to start packing and shipping these beauties. Be on the lookout, it's Orondo Ruby season! 


Meet Char Smith, Plant Manager


Ask Char Smith how long she’s been in the fruit business and the answer is quite simple, “My entire life”. A member of the Grigg’s family, Char brings 5 generations of fruit industry experience to her role as Plant Manager for the Chelan Fruit Company. While Char has worked for a short period outside the fruit industry, she came back to her family's roots. It's simple, for the Griggs family, growing fruit is just what they do.  

Transitions are a large part of the fruit growing business - typically marked by the seasons. Right now, Char’s plant is preparing for the transition from apples to the soon to be harvested Orondo Ruby cherry.

Forever keeping an eye on color and quality, Char’s attention to detail is the perfect match for this beautiful, sweet and unique cherry. Quality is something the Griggs family has been known for for a very long time.

Through each harvest season, Char’s hustling packing facility is filled with activity, yet very far from normal. In short, there is no such thing as a normal day - part of what Char enjoys about her job.  

When not packing fruit, Char spends time with her family. These days, it seems as though each waking hour is spent lovingly watching her kids play soccer. As Char puts it, she wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’re thankful for Char’s watchful eye as the Orondo Ruby gets packed for it’s trip to a local store, and ultimately to your table. We’re counting the final days to the 2014 cherry harvest. Here’s to another wonderful year of cherries!