National Cherry Day Date in the current year: July 16, 2022

National Cherry Day If you’re a fan of cherries (and who isn’t, really), don’t forget to celebrate National Cherry Day on July 16. This delicious holiday originated in the United Kingdom but has since been adopted by other countries such as the United States.

The term “cherry” can refer to the fruit of many plants that belong to the genus Prunus, but commercially available cherries are typically obtained from cultivars of two cherry species: sweet cherry (Prunus avium) and sour cherry (Prunus cerasus). Most cherry cultivars that are eaten fresh belong to the species Prunus avium, whereas sour cherries are used mainly in cooking.

Cherries are native to much of Europe and western Asia. They are also widely cultivated in other parts of the world and have become naturalized in North America and Australia. Cherries were introduced into England from Flanders thanks to Henry VIII who ordered to plant a cherry orchard in Kent, and were brought to North America by Dutch settlers.

As of 2020, the world’s top ten sweet cherry producers were Turkey, the United States, Chile, Uzbekistan, Iran, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ukraine and Bulgaria, and the top ten sour cherry producers were Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, Serbia, Poland, Iran, Uzbekistan, the United States, Hungary and Belarus.

National Cherry Day was launched in the United Kingdom in 2008 as part of a campaign to save the country’s cherry orchards. Sadly, England and Wales have lost more than half of their traditional orchards since the beginning of the 20th century. There were over 50 cultivars of sour cherry grown in England before World War II, but only a few are grown commercially now.

Because of the orchard decline, 95% of all cherries in the UK are imported. In addition, the decline of orchard area has had a huge impact on wildlife because blossoming orchards are an important source of sustenance for insects in spring.

So the original goal of National Cherry Day was to raise awareness about the need to restore and maintain traditional cherry orchards in Britain. However, as the holiday spread outside the UK, it has transformed into a celebration of cherries as a fruit and an excuse to indulge in cherries and various cherry desserts. Interestingly, the date of the holiday, July 16, is more fitting for Britain because mid-July is the peak cherry harvest season here, whereas in North America, cherries are typically harvested in June.

The best way to celebrate National Cherry Day is to swing by your local farmers’ market and pick up some fresh cherries. If you have time and are in the mood for cooking, try your hand at making one of the many delicious cherry desserts: Black Forest cake, British cherry cake, cherry cheesecake, cherry cobbler, cherries jubilee, cherry pie, cherry popover, cherry tart, cherry turnover, clafoutis, or even Hungarian sour cherry soup.

You can also observe the holiday by visiting a cherry farm near you that allows to pick your own cherries or even by participating in a cherry pit spitting competition. And don’t forget to spread the word about #NationalCherryDay on social media!

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Category

Unofficial Holidays

Country

United Kingdom, USA

Tags

National Cherry Day, unofficial holidays, observances in the US, observances in the UK, sweet cherries, sour cherries