Glory cherry earns kudos

Dan Wheat/Capital Press Gordon Goodwin checks the Glory cherries in his Stemilt Hill orchard near Wenatchee, Wash., on Aug. 11, a few days before first commercial harvest. Retailers in Baton Rouge, La., and San Francisco liked it.

Louisiana, San Francisco retailers give the new variety good reviews

By DAN WHEAT

Capital Press

WENATCHEE, Wash. -- One retailer basically said the new Glory cherry lived up to its name. Another and a wholesaler said it was good but not overwhelming.

That's the feedback Steve Castleman, salesman for Columbia Marketing International of Wenatchee, said he received on the first commercial sales of a cherry discovered eight years ago by grower and church pastor Gordon Goodwin on Wenatchee's Stemilt Hill.

Locals say the hill produces the best cherries in the world.

An Aug. 16 picking resulted in 180, 20-pound boxes of Glory sold into San Francisco at $40 a box. Another 70 boxes went to Baton Rouge, La., and a few boxes were held in Columbia Fruit Packers' Wenatchee warehouse at 32 degrees to test storability.

On Aug. 23, one week after picking, it "was still firm, a little soft texture in eating. Not rock hard like some Skeena or Sweetheart, but still good crunch and no deterioration," Castleman said.

"Associated Grocers in Baton Rouge gave rave reviews on it," Castleman said. "The said the cherry looks very nice, has fresh green stems, minimal pitting and actually was some of the nicest of the season."

A San Francisco retailer said Glory was similar in taste to Sweetheart, wasn't as firm and "not a game a changer, not overwhelming in taste. Good but not unique," Castleman said.

A San Francisco wholesaler compared it favorably in appearance and shape to Sweetheart, but "said it had a soft mouth feel," meaning lighter in density than most varieties, firmness not as good as their perception of a Bing, Castleman said.

Internal texture or firmness might be the only detractor, but Glory wasn't hydro cooled, Castleman noted. Hydro cooling would have increased firmness. Columbia Fruit Packers' hydro cooler had been shut down for the season.

"It is late and it is big. Those are two very nice attributes," Castleman said.

It has great potential domestically but without hydro cooling exporting is questionable, he said.

During packing, Glory averaged 308 in pressure or firmness without hydro cooling, with 270 and better qualifying for export, said Pete Van Well, president of Van Well Nursery of East Wenatchee. The nursery is applying for a patent on Glory and plans to sell trees next spring.

"We know we have a good cherry. It may not be the best or it may be a super cherry," Van Well said. "We need to get it out in the industry and have it grown in different locations and elevations. It will take eight or nine or 10 years to know what we have."

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