Bing is a cultivar of the wild or sweet cherry (Prunus avium) that originated in the Pacific Northwest, in Milwaukie, Oregon, United States. The Bing remains a major cultivar in Oregon, Washington, California, Wisconsin and British Columbia. It is the most produced variety of sweet cherry in the United States.
The cultivar was created as a crossbred graft from the Black Republican cherry in 1875 by Oregon horticulturist Seth Lewelling and his Manchurian Chinese foreman Ah Bing, for whom the cultivar is named.
Ah Bing was reportedly born in China and immigrated to the U.S. in about 1855. He worked as a foreman in the Lewelling family fruit orchards in Milwaukie for about 35 years, supervising other workers and caring for trees. He went back to China in 1889 for a visit. Due to the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 he never returned to the United States. Sources disagree as to whether Ah Bing was responsible for developing the cultivar, or whether it was developed by Lewelling and named in Bing's honor due to his long service as orchard foreman.
Bing cherries are used almost exclusively for fresh market. Bings are large, dark and firm cherries that ship well, but will crack open if exposed to rain near harvest. A dry-summer climate is required for the harvest of the bing cherry, making them especially well adapted to the climates of the Pacific Northwest and California.[clarification needed]
Bing cherries are high in anti-oxidants. A study by the United States Department of Agriculture suggests that fresh Bing cherries may help sufferers of arthritis and gout. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns that these are yet unproven claims.
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- Peg Herring, Bing cherries are an American favorite. But who was Bing?, Oregon Progress, Oregon State University Agricultural Experiment Station, Fall 2009.
- Ah Bing, Infoplease.com, accessed September 23, 2010
- King, Sally (December 17, 2010). "A heritage of farming yields highly praised wines". Napa Valley Register. Napa, CA. Retrieved December 17, 2010.
- "A Daily Dose of Antioxidants?" in Agricultural Research, March 2008.
- Fresh Cherries May Help Arthritis Sufferers
- List of Firms Receiving Warning Letters Regarding Cherry and other Fruit-Based Products with Disease Claims in Labeling Archived March 10, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.