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How to pick the perfect Flathead cherry

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It’s the height of Flathead Cherry season.  But with all of the choices how do you know how to pick the perfect Flathead Cherry?

We spoke with cherry grower Bruce Johnson who tells us Montana’s most favorite cherry, the Lambert, are at their ripest right now.  And the best way to identify the sweetest and juiciest cherry is picking the darkest and reddest ones.

Johnson tells us, “We wait until the color gets that rich mahogany type color and then you bite into them.  The taste test is always the best you know.”

Johnson has advice for those that like Rainier cherries better.  Rainier cherries have more delicate skin that can bruise easily.  So when you’re looking through a bag of Rainier cherries look for the ones that aren’t bruised. 

If you’re wondering how to keep your cherries from getting moldy Johnson has advice on that too.  Don’t take the stem off of the fruit.  When you do, there is potential for the fruit to tear and bleed.  This allows mold to grow faster and easier.

Johnson says, “A potential tear and if it's bleeding juice then there's a chance that it will mold.  And you know how mold goes if you get one started it could ruin your entire box of cherries.”

And while this dry hot weather is bad for fires in the Flathead Valley Johnson tells us that the drier weather helps the cherries.  In year past the wets weather splits the fruit and once the fruit is split it can’t be sold.  Johnson didn’t have the exact amount but tells us that growers can lose money when split fruit is thrown away.

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