Washington Cherries: For Dinner And Dessert

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Chef Garrett Brown shows a crowd at a Seattle farmers market how to make savory and sweet dishes with cherries — which Washington state grows more than any other place in the U.S. On the menu: cold cherry soup and pork tenderloin with cherry sauce.


So life is no bowl of cherries for Republicans at the moment. But this week in our Farmer's Market series we're going to go to Washington State, which grows more cherries than any other place. Cherries are abundant this summer, especially sweet.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman watched a demonstration of cherry cooking at the Columbia City Market in Seattle and sent along this audio postcard.

WENDY KAUFMAN: Garrett Brown used to spit cherry pits out the window. Now as a chef he makes chilled cherry soup.

Mr. GARRETT BROWN (Chef): So what we're going to do is take the cherries and we're going to put them in the bowl and we're going to add a little bit of sour cream. If you have crème fraîche, also delicious. A little bit of sugar or honey, a little touch of salt.

(Soundbite of blender)

Mr. BROWN: You could strain this when you're done with it if you want a nice, smooth solid color. I like the skins. I think cherry skins are fun looking and they're delicious, so I'm leaving them in.

(Soundbite of blender)

Mr. BROWN: My lovely assistant Linda here will be giving out samples.

KAUFMAN: Very refreshing, delicious.

Do you use the white wine in this one?

Mr. BROWN: Yes.

KAUFMAN: You can definitely taste that mixed with the cherries. Really good.

Next, the chef moves from the sweet to the savory - a pork tenderloin with a sauce of Bing cherries.

(Soundbite of sizzling)

Mr. BROWN: That's the color we're getting there.

KAUFMAN: Why do you sometimes use Bing and sometimes use Rainier in your recipes?

Mr. BROWN: That's a good question. I'm doing Bing cherries with the sauce because they're actually going to hold their structure, I think, a little better than a Rainier cherry would. Rainier would kind of melt down into it a little bit more, and I like actually seeing the cherries. The other reason with the soup - if you do the soup with a Bing cherry and add a little sour cream, it's going to come out looking like, you know, Pepto-Bismol. Nothing against Pepto-Bismol, they're a fine product, but I don't want my food looking like that.

KAUFMAN: Brown moves onto dessert - a cherry ice cream concoction - then entertains questions, this one from Elizabeth Rifer(ph) and her son Leo.

Mr. LEO RIFER: What's the cherry sandwich thingy called again?

Mr. BROWN: I call that an open faced ice cream sandwich.

KAUFMAN: Do you like the cherries, Leo?

Mr. RIFER: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

KAUFMAN: Wendy Kaufman, NPR News, Seattle.

INSKEEP: And if you want to go yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, check out some of the recipes at

(Soundbite of song, "Life is Just a Big Bowl of Cherries")

Unidentified Man: (Singing) Like ha, ha, ha, ha. Life is just a great big bowl of cherries, cherries, cherries.


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