— Quality —THE CYCLE OF SOUR CHERRIES

CULTIVATION

The sour cherry is undoubtedly one of the most traditional cultivations in the province of Modena. Indeed, a sour cherry tree could be found in a sun-exposed corner of the courtyard of many houses in our countryside. When fruits were ripe, they were transformed into excellent quality jams. Until the early 1990s, small farms were located on the hills around Modena, which generated a niche agro-industrial market.

Unfortunately, this cultivation has all but disappeared, due to the extremely high costs of manual harvesting, thus almost entirely compromising the possibility to produce sour cherry jam – a fundamental ingredient in tarts and sweet pasties, traditionally prepared both at home and in pastry shops.

Thus, we have decided to revive this traditional cultivation, which is perfectly suited to our mentality concerning the agro-industrial management of land, and to the professional expertise of the members of our Co-operative.

GROWING

Sour cherry orchards are characterised by the great distances between plants and between rows,
since the sour cherry tree needs light and air to grow and bear fruit – exactly the same conditions in which these trees used to grow in courtyards and gardens in the Modena area:
a single tree, directly exposed to sunlight.

PRUNING

The cultivation of the sour cherry is not particularly demanding from the point of view of agronomic procedures.
It requires only a light pruning, which is carried out during the winter, as well as phytoiatric treatments with a low environmental impact.
The production standards and regulations are those used for Biological Control in the Emilia-Romagna region.

BLOSSOMING

Early spring represents the most impressive period of the year.
During the FLOWERING, which lasts for about a week, beautiful white flowers blossom on the trees.
The action of pollinating insects grants an abundant fructification.

HARVESTING

The growth cycle of sour cherries is very fast, and fruits are ready for picking halfway through June.
Harvesting is carried out with automatic shaking machines, which allow to work on vast surfaces at very high speed.
This method also preserves the fruits, which, once fallen from the tree without the stalk, goes into containers full of cold water,
to avoid damages and deterioration.

JAM PRODUCTION

Once they arrive to the production plant, sour cherries are washed, selected and pitted, and they are ready for cooking within a few minutes.
Cooking is a crucial operation, and it is carried out according to a unique procedure aimed at reproducing the traditional method used for centuries by housewives in the Modena area.
Indeed, the earliest specimen of this recipe, found by the aristocratic family Casa Molza (related to the powerful Estense dynasty), dates back to the sixteenth century.

The flesh and the juice of sour cherries are poured into uncovered bowls.
The fruit is then cooked in these large containers at a temperature close to 100° C for at least four – five hours, until the ideal concentration is reached.

After the cooking, the product is immediately packaged into jars, cans or plastic containers, depending on commercial demands.

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