Did you know that there are over 1,000 types of cherries!?! Isn’t that amazing. This popular stone-fruit is a summertime favorite but have you ever wondered how they are grown and where they came from?
It is believed that cherries originated from between the Black and the Caspian Seas. Their name is from the Turkish town of Cerasus, and interestingly, Turkey is the largest cherry producing region in the world. In the U.S., cherries are mainly grown in California, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan.
Cherries are grown in clusters on large trees. The amount of cherries that are cultivated is based on the flower blossoms produced, the weather, and the environmental conditions. They require at least six hours of direct sunlight in soil that is soft and fertile.
Cherries are non-climacteric, meaning they do not continue to ripen after they are harvested. Farmers have to be careful during this process that they are hand-picking ripe cherries – often returning if they have not ripened.
We typically eat the sweet cherries (Bing, Rainer, Stella, Turkish Sweet Cherry, etc) which have a thick, rich, and almost plum-like texture. They need at least two or three trees in order to pollinate each other. There are also sour cherries, which are much smaller and self-fertile.
Cherries can be eaten as is, used for jams and preserves, used in pies, cobblers, and more. They also have a host of benefits that may fight inflammation and diseases, improve sleep, protect the heart, and more.
It’s so amazing the path our food takes to get to us.