The history of the cherries in and around Witzenhausen
Cherries around Witzenhausen were first mentioned in 1573. Since then, this region has developed into one of the largest cherry cultivation areas in Germany. As the Cherry Town in the Werratal, it is widely known today as an excursion and travel destination. At the beginning of the 19th century, the cherry cultivation in Witzenhausen was mentioned in statistics and topography by the Electorate of Hesse as one of the most important branches of the town, since nearly every third household cultivated cherries and had about 50 trees at the time.
With time, the number of cherry trees in Witzenhausen grew. Currently, there are approximately 150,000 trees. Every year at the end of April and the beginning of May, the Werratal around Witzenhausen is enchanted by a white sea of flowers. Every year around the middle of June, the harvest of the red fruit begins, which is cultivated around the town on numerous plantations.
Nowadays, only a few so-called high-performing varieties are needed as the commercial fruit, which are only so tall so that the cherries can be picked from the ground. However, the most robust cherry crops can be found in the oldest plantations, which are no longer profitable businesses but rather open to the public for tasting. Cherries are not only meant for eating but can be made into many varieties of products including cherry wine, liquor, cherry juice, marmalade, and of course, the most popular choice, dried cherries (nicknamed “Trokis” in German).
The town of Witzenhausen has made a name for itself in the business world with cherries and has been one location of the German Cherry Gene Library since 2007, whose mission is the cultivation of many cherry varieties. As the location of teaching and learning, there has been an orchard testing facility since the 1980s. This is where the most modern forms of cherry cultivation are tested. Visit Witzenhausen for the cherry blossoms (starting from mid-April) and the cherries themselves (starting in June).