The Monts de Venasque (Venasque hills) benefit from a great deal of sunshine on average, more than 300 days a year.
This ensures the healthy development of the orchards as well as a consistent quality of the fruit.
The cherry-trees flower from April onwards on these hillsides at the foot of Mont Ventoux and the Monts de Vaucluse, which are so well exposed to the sun and sheltered from the Mistral (cold prevailing north wind).
Among the three main areas for cherries in France (the south Rhone basin, the Greater South-West region, and the Loire Valley), the Vaucluse is the department with the biggest production. About 4000 hectares are planted with cherry-trees, giving an annual harvest of about 10,000 tons.
The fruit are always picked when fully ripe, and are consistent in colour and brilliance.
The harvest begins in mid-May and ends in early July. Burlat, an early-fruiting variety, comes first; followed by Summit (fleshy and heart-shaped), Van, and then Belge des Monts de Venasque towards the end of the season.
Two famous Cherry Festival take place in June on the first Sunday of the month in Venasque and on the last Sunday in Malemort-du-Comtat.
But in the season, you’ll find these cherries for sale on the stalls all over the markets of the region – indeed, all over Provence. Enjoy!