If you love cherry blossoms, you don’t have to go to Japan to see it. You can enjoy it in Spain too. The two million cherry trees in the valley of Jerte, in the province of Cáceres in northern Extremadura, are in bloom.
And that heralds one of the most famous spring spectacles in Spain: the ‘Fiesta del Cerezo en Flor’. Every year, the spectacle attracts many tourists and day-trippers. As such, it is an impressive and enchanting sight. The blossom colours the slopes of the valley white as the trees are in bloom for around 12 to 14 days on average. This beautiful sight is part of the Jerte Valley’s cherry blossom festival, which continues until 1 April.
The cherry trees are grown according to a centuries-old family tradition on terraces in the mountains of Jerte, in a unique environment with a privileged microclimate. These favourable conditions allow Spain’s best cherries to grow here. The variety Picota del Jerte, also occurs there.
The picota is special, distinguishing itself by taste and sweetness from the cherry. But there are more differences. It is the only variety that comes off the tree without a stalk. Picotas have a more meaty and ‘crispy’ texture and are just a bit smaller.
Their natural cultivation and traditional harvesting means they retain their flavour and arrive on the market at the optimum consumption time. These fruits contain as many as eight vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium, a large amount of antioxidants and fibre. Not only tasty, also good for your health!
Jerte Valley cherries have a protected designation of origin and are among the best in the world. The president of the Jerte Designation of Origin, José Antonio Tierno, stresses that this season too, he will certify cherries produced in the Designation of Origin area. He hopes to “continue taking steps to differentiate the quality from other cherries produced in Spain and Europe”.
Jerte cherries and Picotas are increasingly in demand from both domestic and international markets, especially the UK. Of the Picotas del Jerte production, 50% is exported.