Northwest Cherry Season Has Arrived!

USDA Study Touts Health Benefits of Sweet Cherries
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Cherry lovers, take note! The Northwest Cherry Growers are pleased to announce that cherry season has arrived. Sweet plump Northwest cherries are being plucked, packed, and shipped nationwide by the 2,500 cherry growers spread across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana.

Rich in fiber, potassium, and melatonin, Northwest sweet Bing cherries are also taking center stage in the nutritional arena thanks to a recent USDA study which touts the health benefits of this iconic summer fruit. According to the results of a study conducted by researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Western Human Nutrition Research Center sweet cherry consumption may "reduce risk or modify the severity of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, CVD, blood pressure, and cancer." 

Spearheaded by Darshan S. Kelley, PhD, the study examined the effects of fresh sweet cherry consumption on concentrations of risk factors for chronic diseases. Researchers studied 16 women and two men between the ages of 45 and 61 who had slightly elevated levels of C-reactive protein, an inflammatory biomarker.

According to Dr. Kelley the results show that several interlinked pathways of inflammation were affected and suggest that consuming sweet cherries may reduce risk or modify the severity of inflammatory diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, CVD, blood pressure, and cancer. The study took place in two phases, starting in 2006 and the results of the study have been published in the March 2013 issue of The Journal of Nutrition.

So, stock up on those Northwest sweet Bing cherries while they are fresh and in season. Simply serve the convenient nutritional powerhouses in a bowl to share for an easy party snack, or pitted in salads, on oatmeal, or stirred into yogurts and ice cream. Add them for depth to savory dishes or buy them and freeze them whole for use in smoothies, sauces, and frozen desserts during the winter. Cook up batches of jams or jellies for easy holiday gifts or dehydrate the cherries and add them to trail mixes or granola for a hearty and healthy snack for the kids when school starts in the fall.

For additional information, see this multimedia release from NW Cherries, which features background information, a video, B roll, numerous photos, and a Southwestern Style Cherry Coleslaw recipe.