Happy National Rainier Cherry Day! Ok, so it's not like you had this holiday on your calendar, but maybe you should. One restaurant in each of the 50 states has paired with the Northwest Cherry Growers to create special dishes with Rainier cherries, and the Missouri pick is our own Annie Gunn's (16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, 636-532-7684), lead by executive chef Lou Rook.
See also: -Dierbergs: "Check Out the Size of Our Cherries." Gut Check: "We've Seen Bigger." -Annie Gunn's "Just Around the Corner": Gut Check's Hump-Day Cocktail Suggestion -Lou Rook III of Annie Gunn's, Part 1
Rainier cherries aren't the deep red ones we're all used to -- they're much lighter with a bit of a golden blush. They were created in Washington state in 1972 by cross-breeding Bing and Van cherries. Rainier cherries are mostly grown in Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Washington and are in-season this month.
Annie Gunn's uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possibly, which is precisely the reason it was chosen for the celebration. Chef Lou Rook planned several dishes around the Rainier cherry: sautéed foie gras on custard corn bread with Rainier cherry, Top of the Hill Farm honey and Muscovy duck confit on braised collard greens with Rainier cherry compote and Baetje Farm chevre, and Rainier cherry bittersweet chocolate Pop-Tart for dessert.
"This was originally just a one-year program, but we had so many requests from restaurants that we've extended it for this third and final year," James Michael of North America for Northwest Cherries said in a press release. "Hopefully this will inspire people to try cherries in some new flavor combinations at home."
Basically, these babies aren't going to be around for long, so be respectful of their day and eat a whole bunch. It's good for you!
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