The new season of spring has arrived, bringing with it a bright new beginning. While the world has been turned upside down, we can find comfort that nature keeps operating by its own clock and calendar: the blooming of cherry blossoms this year is just as magical as ever, and they promise us a bountiful harvest.
The power of the cherry flower
The cherry’s journey from flower bud to fruit, from farm to your table, relies on perfect timing. Mother nature and teams of dedicated people need to work together to bring you these plump and juicy jewels – but they’re only here for a small window period every year. And each harvest is different.
While cherries are easy to love, they are not effortless to grow. The weather plays a vital role in the fruit’s flavour, yield, and timeline. Flower-bud development takes around eight months, from mid-summer of the previous season to actual flowering in spring. But cherries also rely on a special, wild and unpredictable element: bees.
A force to bee reckoned with
Bees are pivotal to cherry flower pollination, which is what brings about the delicious fruit between 45 and 65 days later. These honey-makers and their favourite blossoms are sensitive to their environment, says Tanith Freeman, product development manager for Dutoit Agri, one of the most established cherry producers in the country and owner of the brand Cherry Time: “The strength and health of the bees in the hives is of the utmost importance. Conditions have to be just right for them, and the flowers – not too hot, not too cold, and the air has to be moist with high humidity. Happy bees and good weather equal lots of fruit.”
However, this year’s harvest is looking promising, says Freeman. “The air is bright and clean, full dams lie sparkling in the sun, and the forecast for good pollination weather has been made. With new and young orchards coming into bearing, and with the chilling that this year’s snow has brought, we are expecting a bumper crop.”
Once upon a (cherry) time
How do cherries get from flower bud to your bowl? It’s a delicate dance. Cherry Time’s some 400 000 trees are nurtured throughout the year: pruned, fed, and bathed with crystal-clear mountain water to promise the best, biggest and most flavourful fruit. Some time in September, white blooms fill the air with a sweet scent, and bees zip from flower to flower to pollinate each one. Thanks to the kiss of the bees, the cherries grow ripe and ready to be picked by special teams from October to December. Once off the tree, the fruit are cooled to be kept fresh, and delivered to the pack house. Green stems are trimmed and the cherries are sorted according to size. The ruby-red gems are then nestled in containers, ready to start their journey to you.
The cherry harvest will be just in time for long days of feasting and family time that the festive season brings. But, as with all good things, this special spell is fleeting – for only a few short weeks will the best of the crop be on offer. Order your fresh delivery right to your door on CherryTime.co.za