After witnessing bumper production last year, cherry season is presently in full bloom in Kashmir. From May up to July 15 every year, cherries from Kashmir remain in demand. With 120 varieties available and grown successfully in areas between 2,000 and 2,700 m above sea-level, cherries are planted on hilly areas in Valley. Bilal Bahadur captures the fruit of the moment
Cherry (Prunus avium) is confined to Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and hills of Uttar Pradesh.
Due to higher return, cherry is gaining popularity in temperate regions.
A delicious fruit, cherry is rich in protein, sugars and minerals. It has more calorific value than apple.
Cherry blossom is very sensitive to spring frost; therefore frost-free sites of hill slope and valley areas with and outlet for the cold air are preferred.
An annual rainfall of 100-120 cm, well-distributed throughout the year us desirable but high rainfall during flowering results in heavy blossom wilt.
According to officials of Horticulture Department, Kashmir last year recorded a bumper output of 11,000 metric ton cherry.
J&K produces about 11,629 metric tonnes of cherries of which about 80 percent is exported,
The different species of cherry, included: Sharp Red coloured, Blackish Red and Makhmali Red.
A major portion of cherry goes to markets in Mumbai where about 35000 boxes are sent every year.
Other states where cherry is exported from Kashmir include Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai where around 15000-20000 boxes are exported every year.
In Kashmir, a total area of 3699 hectares is being used for cherry cultivation.
A major belt on the outskirts of Srinagar city which includes Harwan, Brein, Dhaara and Zakura produce the highest yield.