Cherries embody that festive feeling and signal the start of the holidays.
They’re the ultimate indulgence and their super-short season makes them extremely sought after. For hundreds of years, they’ve been linked to all things merry and bright, and they continue to delight, whether in cocktails or celebratory foods – think chocolate cherry trifles, Shirley Temples and rich fillet with Pinot Noir and cherry sauce.
Suffice to say they’re something special and there are plenty of fun facts about them.
Here, Cherry Time – South Africa’s leading producer of top-quality cherries – shares eight cherry secrets
1. A very cherry festive
Cherries and the festive season have been linked for a long time… in fact, there’s a Cherry Tree Carol from the early 15th Century. The fruit’s redness and rarity – cherries only grow for a short time that coincides with the holidays – makes it super special and celebratory.
2. The Cherry Stone Age
Evidence of fossilised cherry pits in caves across Europe and Asia suggests humans (or rather our prehistoric ancestors) started munching cherries during the stone age.
3. A physician in 300 BCE extolled their health benefits
Diphilus of Siphnos – a Greek physician – called cherries a useful diuretic. This was the first documented mention of their impressive health benefits; they’re packed with antioxidants and contain melatonin (aids with sleep), potassium (helps prevent hypertension) and B-vitamins (metabolism-boosting) … perfect for off-setting all that festive feasting.
4. Harvest is the happiest time
A whirlwind of activity – it starts and ends in just six to eight weeks – harvest season sees cherries being picked, packed and shipped in record time! The Cherry Time packinghouse is where this magic mostly takes place.
5. Cherry vodka, darling?
Wikipedia suggests cherries were first introduced to the United States in the late 19th Century and delicious cocktails were the result…
6. The world’s biggest cherry pie weighed almost as much as 10 giraffes
It was baked by Charlevoix’s (in Michigan) bakery in a specially built giant titanium pan and oven and weighed 7902 kg! Incidentally, a cherry pie is always a festive hit – as is a cherry trifle, cherry tiramisu, cherries and ice cream and any other kind of cherry dessert, really.
7. Ceres is a cherry hot spot
Many Cherry Time farms are in the pristine Koue Bokkeveld just outside of Ceres, where the mild climate means the best possible fruit! Plus, the cherries are watered by crystal-clear mountain rainwater, which makes them pure and pollutant-free.
8. Sustainability is everything
Growing cherries wouldn’t be possible without the right people. A close-knit farming community is key, with all the right ingredients to keep people healthy, happy, well-educated and feeling fulfilled from a personal and professional perspective. Access to education and healthcare are a big part of that, which is why Cherry Time, for example, has built day care centres for the children on its farms and has a full-time nurse on-hand. This is all part of its sustainability story, which is pivotal for longevity.
Cherries add whimsy and romance to any festive get together! Another fun fact? You can order yours online via CherryTime.co.za from 25 November and they will be delivered to your nearest pickup point in the Western Cape.
Remember, the stocks are limited so order yours quickly to avoid disappointment.