Cultivation and varieties
Cherry - Culture

from the Rosaceae family, like the plum and peach; genus "prunus" Fruit: plump rounded bright red drupes with smooth skin, containing a pit, suspended by long thin peduncles that form in a bunch on the bark.


the cherry is a smooth-trunked tree that can reach 10 m in height


In May, the flowering of the cherry tree has always delighted onlookers with the magnificence of its delicate whitish-pink blossoms grouped in little bunches.

The drupes, or stone fruit, are picked when ripe. There are two species:

Sour cherries - Prunus cerasus
These are the cherries used for pies, jams, and liqueur and brandy-making. They include more than 300 varieties, including

  • the Montmorency, with light-coloured juice; large, sour, soft and deep red
  • the sour or Morello cherry with dark-coloured juice
  • the maraschino
  • the English cherry, a product of crossing cherries with wild cherries, with tender, soft translucent red flesh, and colourless sour juice

Sweet cherries come from the Prunus avium variety
These are globular, oblong or heart-shaped thin-skinned cherries, the colour of which ranges from light to dark red. They include more than 900 varieties including

  • large heart-shaped "mazzards" with very sweet soft flesh; these early red or black cherries are the best variety for clafoutis;
  • hard-fleshed bigaroon or bigarreau cherries, with ivory or red skin; sweet, firm, crunchy flesh; red or vermillion yellow inside; colourless juice;
  • Bing cherries, juicy, reddish-purple colour
  • wild cherries, slightly plump, blackish, and with a pasty flesh.

It formerly took several years for cherry orchards to begin to produce. The trees were left to grow freely and attain a large size, by which time the fruit was generally small. Nowadays the trees are cut back to simplify pruning and to reduce harvesting costs.

For a long time the cherry tree shared the same terrain as olives, almonds and ceps, meaning it prefers a more Mediterranean climate: temperate but protected from northerly winds. The cherry does, however, appreciate a winter cold that is not overly harsh in order to kill off parasites and provide it with a few months resting time.

Cherry trees require rain before blossoming, but heavy rains can split the fruit.

These small fragile fruits have to be picked by hand. Their main production period is in June and July.

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