Victorian cherry season is back so you can enjoy this beloved red fruit all summer long

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Victorian cherry season is back so you can enjoy this beloved red fruit all summer long

cherry season
Words by Staff Writer

Australia, get ready! Everyone is in for a delightful, and delicious, summer as the beloved Victorian Cherry season makes its comeback.

After a difficult season last year due to a severe La Nina, cherry farmers are looking forward to the 2023 season. Victoria’s orchards are currently filled with the beauty of cherry blossom, and they’re buzzing with news that this year’s season is shaping up well with what is looking like being a great harvest with plenty of options for every budget as supply should be plentiful if conditions remain favourable.

Typically, the Victorian Cherry season kicks off in early November and hits good volumes by the middle of the month, continuing through until after Christmas, so encompassing a long festive season – a perfect match for festive feasting and gifting. Cherries are seasonal and the season runs for around 100 days.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around Melbourne here.

The best places for cherry picking in Melbourne

In Victoria, orchards are growing some of Australia’s favourite cherry varieties – Merchant, Bing, Regina, Lapin, Sweet Georgia, Sweetheart and Van, with the major cherry production areas being in the Goulburn Valley, Yarra Valley, and Sunraysia regions.

And cherries have a neat trick up their sleeve – nearly every week during the season, a new kind of cherry gets ready to pick. So, us lucky eaters get to experience different varieties of cherries all season long.  By the time the festive season comes around, cherries are abundantly available, making them ideal for snacking and including in celebratory dishes and, of course, gifting. You can chat with your local greengrocer about the Victorian Cherry varieties available at the time or even visit an orchard on the famous Cherry Trail and talk to the farmer directly!

The Victorian Cherry Trail opens early in the season and is a chance to meet the growers themselves and access some freshly picked cherries straight from the farm, whether it’s at the farm gate or pick your own is available at some orchards.

Yarra Valley’s Cherry-Picking Festival is back this summer

“Victorian Cherries are more than just a delightful treat,” said Alison Jones, President of The Victorian Cherry Association. “They’re a versatile addition to your cooking this summer.

“Cherries can be enjoyed as a delicious snack on their own, with great flavour and plenty of health benefits for everyone, they are ideal as lunchbox fillers, or they can be incorporated into dishes. Cherries effortlessly add flavour and richness to many dishes. Victorian cherries can be used in both sweet and savoury recipes such as salads, salsas, sauces, dressings and desserts. Cherries really are enjoyed by everyone, whatever the age.

“During September, Victorian Cherry growers are bringing bees into their orchards to pollinate. This is an essential part of the season, when the bees pollinate each of the cherry blossom flowers to create the delicious cherries we all get to eat and enjoy when the season starts in November.

“As the Victorian Cherry season peaks at Christmas, Aussies have embraced the ruby red fruit as the perfect festive gift and this means that, not only are these the most delicious of gifts, but they are supporting our Victorian farmers as well.”

Cherries also come with a side of health benefits – packed with antioxidants, they can help your body stay happy and balanced. Cherries contain natural sugars and only have 60 calories in a 100g serving whilst providing 1.5g of fibre. A 100g serving of cherries contains 40% of daily vitamin C needs, and they are also a good source of potassium. Cherries are linked to lowering the levels of inflammation in the body and lowering the risk of gout and gout attacks.

Support Victorian farmers and share the joy of cherries all summer long. With their indulgent sweetness and vibrant flavour, cherries will guarantee everyone a refreshingly flavoursome Christmas and New Year.

The sweet low-down

The Victorian Cherry typically runs from around early-November to mid-January, the peak season being 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 cherries, 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 sweet rich taste.

For all the info you need, head to the Victorian Cherry Association website here.