These ’red diamonds’ of Provence are crisp, both sweet and tart, and are harvested on the hillsides of Monts de Vaucluse at the foot of the ’Giant of Provence’.
Cherry orchards dot the landscape along with vines and olive trees, with the main crops in the area of Mont Ventoux. In spring, the white clouds of flowering trees are a welcoming surprise for visitors. The cherry trees are shorter here because they are pruned every year to produce bigger, juicier, sweeter cherries.
Provence is one of the largest national production areas. Vaucluse is the biggest producer in France. The earliest ripening cherries are the ’Burlat’ followed by such varieties as FOLFER, Van, Summit, Stark, Belgian and Sweetheart. They are found on market stalls from May to late July. They are carefully harvested and sorted by hand, as they are a fragile product that requires hard work.
When holidaying on the hills of Ventoux, you can meet farmers, since many of them have diversified into tourist activities. They will gladly welcome you and let you sample cherries in season. Cherry-growing is an ancestral practice. The know-how goes back several generations and rigorous specifications are observed for quality production. In addition, the microclimate of Ventoux (sunshine, humidity...) facilitates cherry-growing.
There is still a traditional maker of candied fruit that turns the red Provençal diamonds into translucent ruby beads.
Whether picked and eaten on the spot or candied, their taste will delight your tastebuds.
Cherries are rich in vitamin A (or carotene), calcium, iron, copper, as well as trace elements. For more information: www.aprifel.com
Cherries of the hills of Ventoux are outstanding in quality and appearance and are part of our farming and land heritage. They are currently being recognized as part of a PGI approach (Protected Geographical Indications, Sign of European Quality).