Entries in orondo ruby (23)


Successful Orondo Ruby Season!

Our Orondo Ruby cherry season is officially over! Our last shipments went out on 7/25 to Safeway stores in Northern California and will only be on shelves for a short time more. Our crop this year was one of the best to date with large, juicy fruit. 

We thank all of the consumers who took time to write and tell us about their discovery of Orondo Ruby! Look for this Perfect Cherry next year and be sure to tell your local Produce Manager how much you love the Orondo Ruby.


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!


A Gift from Dad: a heartwarming story

This is a beautiful story written by Pat Martinez. Thank you, Pat, for sharing your story with us.

Yesterday, with a case of blueberries and various other fruits in my car trunk, I stopped at the grocery for a few other needed items. High in a refrigerated case, above the packaged lettuces, I happened to notice a row of small-boxed Rainier cherries.

While at the beach one summer, my father already in a degenerative state, I drove inland to a farmer's market hoping they'd have Rainier cherries for Dad. It was the end of the season, and the cherries were few, but I picked through browning cherries, found enough pink and yellows, rushed to the post office and overnighted them to Dad for Father's Day. When he received them, fully aware of the expense, he chided me for the gift, but, it was easy to defend myself, "Dad, I wanted to do it for you."

The cherries at the grocery didn't have a price, and Rainier cherries can be very expensive. I hunted down the grocery man and asked him how much.

"Those aren't even in our system yet, so they shouldn't be out on the shelves, but I'll give them to you for $4.99.

I gulped. It was such a small box.

"They're usually $7 or $8," he added.

"Thanks, I'll take 'em."

I brought them home, not fully understanding the purchase, for the house was full of fruit, from my food co-op pick-up that morning and Tony's recent watermelon indulgence when he found them on sale for $3.99 each. I was feeling a little guilty for buying the cherries.

My grandmother had a Queen Anne (similar or same to Rainiers), tree in her side yard that produced abundant, juicy, beautiful cherries. Dad and Mom were visiting his mother and while there, sent me a shoebox full of cherries. I was on my third week at tennis camp and the box of cherries was a welcome treat and reminder that I still had parents.

My Dad and I always welcomed cherry season together. The neighbor's mother owns an orchard and one summer her grandchildren sold us bags of cherries from her orchard. It's delightful when children's lemonade stands become cherry stands and the time of summer when bing cherry salesmen can be found on almost every major corner. If Dad was coming to visit or if I was going to visit him, I'd always pick up a pound or two of cherries. If Dad was with me, he'd always stop and support his local cherry entrepreneur.

The night before Father's Day, when Tony and I discussed it as my first celebration without Dad, I couldn't talk. I would begin to weep and we'd change the subject. In the previous months, I had intentionally shut down my thoughts of Dad--it had become so difficult to constantly think of him--where he was, what he was doing...I couldn't distinguish what was my imagination and what was possibly real. I saw Dad in my mind's eye, like he was near, like he spoke to me, but reality and common sense told me he wasn't and didn't. I wanted it to be real, but couldn't make it so.

I had to intentionally quit thinking of him, and I felt like a traitor.

I turned the photo of him on my desk, in his prime with wavy dark hair and his crooked smile, away from my view.

This morning I awoke at 5:45, unable to go back to sleep, and I wasn't sure why.

The box of cherries popped into my mind. I made my way downstairs and pulled the cherries out of the fridge, washed them and savored the first one. I brought them to my desk. With my glasses on, I saw that they weren't Rainier cherries but a new cherry: Orondo Ruby. I succumbed to the blurb: Go to orondoruby.com to find out what makes this cherry so unique!

This is what I found:
In his family's Rainier cherry orchard in Washington State, 4th generation grower Marcus Griggs noticed one particular tree that matured earlier with fruit that tasted sweeter and was more red-blushed. Careful studies revealed this was a brand new varietal – a gift from Mother Nature!

The word gift hung in my thoughts. Of course! Today was Father's Day. I could no longer buy cherries for Dad--but maybe, in a way that defied explanation and reason, he had bought them for me.




What makes the Orondo Ruby so special?

The flavor, the texture...and more! Since 2011, we've worked with WSU-TFREC who have studied the quality attributes of the Orondo Ruby, Bing and Rainier cherry varieties. And, we're excited to share the results!

  • MORE FLAVOR: Orondo Ruby has on average 19% higher soluble solids than Rainiers.
  • EVEN MORE FLAVOR: Titratable acidity for the Orondo Ruby is 47% to 58% higher than Rainiers and approximately the same as Bings.
  • CRISPIER BITE: Orondo Ruby is 9% to 21% firmer than Bings and 12% to 25% firmer than Rainiers.
  • LESS VISIBLE MARKINGS: Orondo Ruby has on average 2.2 times higher blush coverage than Rainiers.
  • BETTER SHELF LIFE: Orondo Ruby has 59% and 56% fewer cracks and 61% and 79% less severe skin marking than Bings and Rainiers, respectively, after packing and storage.

We love how the Orondo Ruby compares. What do you think? What do you notice when you bite into a fresh Orondo Ruby?




Update from the Orchard, April

Spring has arrived in the Wenatchee Valley and with the explosion of beautiful white blossoms in our orchards, it's safe to say Orondo Ruby cherry harvest is around the corner. This year's bloom came early, due to an unseasonably mild winter and as a result, we're expecting an early June harvest. 

While we are excited about Orondo Ruby cherries coming early this year, we first must let the bees do their work. Our bees have been busy pollinating our orchards in Wenatchee and Orondo - one of the most important tasks in orchard country. 

Spring time is an amazing time of year. With the local hills filled with wildflowers and the orchards exploding with beautiful spring blossoms, we're ready for cherry season. Cheers to all things spring and the countdown to the season's first Orondo Ruby cherries!