So They Say
Pliny the Elder, a Roman army commander who wrote natural history books on his days off, writing about 50AD or so, said that cherries were brought to Rome from Turkey by Lucius Licinius Lucullus, a famous Roman general of about 150 years earlier. There were, he asserted no cherries in Italy before then. If only things were that simple. Cherry stones have shown up in Bronze Age deposits all over Europe, Britain and Ireland, taking cherry eating back a good two thousand years before Pliny wrote his books.
Cherries need a cold period before they germinate, a survival tactic to stop the stones germinating in autumn and the young trees being killed off by the winter weather, so they only grow in latitudes that will give them this. This is pretty much everywhere in temperate parts of the world. Traverse City, Michigan in America calls itself The Cherry Capital of the World, and to prove it they make the World’s Biggest Cherry Pie every year during the Cherry Festival. Round the other side in New South Wales, Australia, the town of Young is known as The Cherry Capital of Australia and they too hold a National Cherry Festival.
In Spain, snuggled up against the Portuguese border, in the Extremadura region, they have two million cherry trees and a Cherry Blossom Fiesta in the Jerte valley. In Japan too, it is the Cherry blossom that is important. Important enough to take a picnic and a bottle of sake to the park for Hanami.
Given all the above, we really hope that these buds are on a cherry tree. We’ll just have to wait and see.