Rainier cherry developer dies at 88

The research scientist who developed the Rainier cherry in the 1950s at Washington State University’s research station in Prosser, Wash. died Oct. 6 after a heart attack.

Harold Warman Fogle, 88, finished his doctorate in 1949 at West Virginia University. He then accepted a research position at the WSU research center in Prosser where he developed the Rainier cherry.

In 1952, Fogle cross-pollinated the Bing cherry with the Van cherry. The resulting crop was the Rainier cherry, a sweet, shiny and yellow cherry.  The cherry was named after Mount Rainier, which is the highest peak in the Cascade Range.

The fruit was released in 1960, and due to its delicate nature was much pricier than other cherry varieties.

Fogle’s goal was to develop new cherry varieties that would work well with the short growing season of the Bing cherry, according to a 2004 article in Time Magazine. 

After Fogle developed the Rainier cherry, he went on to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to study and develop pitted fruits, including two peach varieties, apricots, and the Bluebyrd plum.