Chukar Cherries Celebrates 25 Years

<p>Pamela and JT Montgomery</p>

Pamela and JT Montgomery

<p>Chukar Classic Bings</p>

Chukar Classic Bings

Chukar Cherries was born in 1988. It was founded by Pamela Montgomery when the specialty food market was still just an idea.

Now twenty-five years later the company has grown to three locations - including the original factory in Prosser and two retail outlets, one at Seattle's Pike Place Market and the other in Leavenworth. 

The company also employs more than 80 people during the year, and more during certain seasons, like Christmas.

"It's been a gift, first to be able to start and then actually run this business, and for all these years... I never thought about 25 years later, but here we are," said Pamela.

Half a million pounds of Bing, Rainer and Tart cherries are processed at the factory each year, and transformed into candies, chocolates, and preserves.

Pamela's husband JT Montgomery is known in some circles as the Willy Wonka of the operation - a title he's proud to carry.

The couple says looking back they never thought their labor of love would get this far, but it's been a terrific ride.