Inara Verzemnieks is an assistant professor of non-fiction writing at the University of Iowa and a former staff writer at the Oregonian, where she worked for the arts and culture department writing features that explored the overlooked and offbeat. In 2007, Verzemnieks was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in feature writing for a collection of work that included her story about the maraschino cherry and its ties to Oregon.
Some people say that the maraschino cherry—that neon-red garnish plopped in cocktail glasses and atop sundaes—was invented in Oregon. That is a bit of an overstatement. What we can say is that Oregon is the birthplace of the modern maraschino cherry industry, for it was here that the process of …