Sweetheart cherries won the the 2012 Outstanding Fruit Cultivar Award from the American Society for Horticultural Science, due to their influence on the sweet cherry industry, at a national and global level.
Bred by Dr. David Lane and Mr. Richard MacDonald at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Summerland, British Columbia, Sweethearts are a late-season sweet cherry, ready for harvest in early August. Widely available in Canada, they’re rarely sold by name so you may have eaten Sweetheart cherries without knowing it!
These cherries are firm and glossy, ideal for eating either fresh or in baked goods and are one of the Okanagan Valley’s top two crops. Cherries continue to be one of British Columbia’s most important tree crops. The late maturity of Sweetheart cherries allows for growers to capitalize on the upswing in prices that occurs and the cherry season comes to an end.
“Our government is proud to support internationally-recognized research and innovation in cherry breeding,” said Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz. “Cultivars developed by AAFC breeding programs have allowed growers to gain a top-notch reputation in the world marketplace as producers of high-quality crops. This boost to the cherry industry has helped stimulate and diversify job creation, benefiting our overall economy.”
Photo courtesy of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.