There are around seven orchards in Iowa that grow cherries. However, cherries are not a native American fruit and were brought over with settlers in the 17th century. February is also National Cherry Month.
Cherries should be picked when they are of maximum size and full flavored. They will not ripen off the tree, so pick when they become soft, but not mushy or discolored. The darker the cherry, the sweeter it will be. Look for heavy, firm cherries with a shiny skin and fresh stem.
Don't wash cherries until you are ready to use them. Refrigerate the fruit as soon as possible after purchase at a temperature of 34-38° F. Cherries will only keep for a few days in the refrigerator, so consume or freeze them as soon as possible after purchase or picking.
Iowa Specialty Crop Growers Association
Data credit 1
ISU Extension and Outreach