Generation X mothers don’t mind the cherry’s stem but would love to do away with the pit.
Sarah Krause, former staff writer for The Packer and Kansas City-based contributor to The Packer’s Fresh Talk blog, recently asked more than a dozen of her Gen-X mom friends about their experience with cherries.
Moms who buy cherries say they love their flavor, their beauty and their connection with summer.
“They’re so summery!” one mom said.
Another mom said she appreciates the small portion size of the fruit and the flavor.
Surprisingly to Krause, she said eight out of 13 moms queried don’t look for cherries. Various reasons were cited by the moms, including lack of familiarity with the fruit, the pits and the mess. Moms who don’t routinely buy cherries don’t know enough about them to know if their family would like them.
“I didn’t grow up eating cherries, so I just don’t serve them to my family,” said one mom who grew up in Tennessee. “I don’t know what to do with them.”
One mom said she owns a cherry pitter and pits all of her family’s cherries. Moms — especially those with young kids — would love a naturally-grown pitless cherry, Krause said, but the research being done in the Northwest to deliver a stemless cherry didn’t have the same appeal.
“That changes the identity of the fruit,” one mom said. Without the stem, she said a cherry just wouldn’t be the same — the same way that grapes wouldn’t look the same if they weren’t in a cluster on a stem. “The stem is sort of what’s charming about a cherry.”
Of the moms who do buy cherries, bings trumped rainiers in popularity. One mom said she doesn’t see rainiers that often and has never tasted one but “is intrigued by them.” Many of the moms said they didn’t buy rainiers because of the cost.
On the other hand, one mom said she only buy rainier cherries despite the higher price because they cause less of a mess. She would rather pay the higher price than suffer the inevitable consequences. “I’ll take that as opposed to having red dye all over the furniture,” the mom said.
Several moms indicated they will pay top dollar for cherries.
“Some of us will pay any price for cherries because we know to enjoy and appreciate them when they’re at their peak in the summer,” Krause said.
Most moms purchase cherries in bags at the grocery store, though moms who shop at club stores buy them in clamshells.
Krause said moms estimated the prices they pay for cherries range mostly from $3 per pound to $7 per pound. “I have no idea because I’m buying them no matter the cost,” one mom said.
Jim Arnold, produce manager at the Mission, Kan., Hy-Vee store, told Krause cherries typically start coming in from the Northwest at $3.99 to $4.99 per pound. Northwest cherries will often be put on ad special at $2.99 and every now and then at $1.99 per pound, he said.
Bings sell better than rainiers because of the cheaper price, Arnold said.
“I don’t really have a problem selling (bings),” he said. “They are just a hot commodity.”
He added that they sell well no matter where they are in the store, so he doesn’t need to create a high-point of sale spot for them.