It’s almost that time of the year again where Australia’s Cherry Trail is plush with deliciously ripe Victorian cherries. So what are you waiting for?
Who doesn’t cherry-ish a good bowl of cherries? The perfect snack on its own or paired with multiple ingredients, there’s no refusing them.
Cherries also make for a great cooking ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes, adding flavour and richness to salads, salsas, sauces, dressings, and desserts. In Australia, Victorian cherries are available in abundance around the festive season, making it an ideal Christmas gift as well!
So naturally, it’s with high anticipation that the Victorian cherry season is being looked forward to. The season kicks off in November and the Cherry Trail will be open in time for restrictions easing.
Spanning from early November to mid-January, the peak season for these red fruits is in December. The Goulburn Valley, Yarra Valley, and Sunraysia regions are the major cherry production areas in Victoria.
There are over 80 varieties of the Cherry but the predominant varieties found in Victoria are Merchant, Bing, Regina, Lapin, Sweet Georgia, Sweetheart, and Van. These cherries are all medium to large with a dark ruby red skin and a sweet rich taste.
Across these months there are a variety of different Victorian Cherries to enjoy, so the cherry eaten at the start of the season will be different from the one eaten at the end – all the more reason to eat them all season long!
Some of the country’s most popular cherry varieties – Merchant, Bing, Regina, Lapin, Sweet Georgia, Sweetheart, and Van – are grown in Victoria. The season begins in the Sunraysia/NW Victoria and northern regions and follows through to central Victoria and well-known areas in Melbourne surrounds.
Given that cherries are fairly low calorie, contain 40% of recommended daily vitamin C, and are packed full of antioxidants, they are undoubtedly a healthy choice. Cherries have also been linked to lowering inflammation in the body and reducing the risk of gout and gout attacks.
With the pandemic slowing things down the past two years, it’s hoped this year that restrictions ease in time for Victorians to visit the Cherry Trail. What’s promised is an opportunity to see eight magnificent orchards, buy farm-fresh cherries from the on-site shop, and even pick-your-own at some of the farms.
Be it a picnic date, a much-needed day out with your family, or just a fun new thing to do with friends, Victorian cherries are the perfect excuse to have some fruity fun. And you get brownie points as you end up supporting Victorian farms from Sunraysia to Mornington Peninsula.
Cherries do not continue to ripen once picked, so snacking doesn’t need to wait! They can be stored in the fridge in a bag or container for up to ten days, or frozen for up to six months when de-stoned.
Alison Jones, President of The Victorian Cherry Association says, “Cherry farmers are looking forward to Victorians enjoying the incredible Cherries we are expecting this season.
“The last couple of years have been challenging but we hope by this summer we can enjoy some quality time with friends and family and we encourage people to visit the Cherry Trail and visit some of our beautiful orchards. I think the challenges we have faced have made us appreciate the smaller things in life and sharing great produce with loved ones is one of those things. Cherries remind us it is summer and that the festive season is near,” she adds.
These delicious Victorian cherries are a summer staple for Australia if you’ve ever seen one. So the next time you make a grocery run, you’re going to want to allocate a sizable budget to stock up these delicacies!