A landscape with a Picota flavour
Cherries came to the Jerte Valley with the Moors, although they had already been being grown in Spain since Roman times. Today, the Jerte Cherry, which benefits from Protected Designation of Origin, has become the economic driver for the three valleys in the north of Cáceres: Jerte, La Vera and Ambroz.
The economy and culture revolve around this prized produce, from when it blossoms to when it is harvested and distributed.
With spring comes the flowering of the cherry blossoms and the traditional Cherry Blossom Festival, classed as being of National Tourist Interest. The show really begins once the flowers blossom. Every year, thousands of tourists travel to the county to enjoy the spectacular nature and beauty of the lands on the hills in the valleys where the cherry trees are found.
Next comes the fruit, and when it reaches its optimal ripeness, the Jerte Valley again becomes a meeting point, this time for the Picota cherry harvest. In fact, every year from May to October, a programme of cherry-based activities is organised that includes tastings, markets, guided tours, etc.
The careful fruit harvest process focuses on quality, so even today the harvest is still done by hand using chestnut baskets, to preserve all the freshness of the cherries.
The cherries are then selected one by one at the classification table at the foot of the tree. Only the best ones are identified with the Jerte Cherry Designation of Origin seal.
One day after having been on the tree, the real Jerte cherries and Picota cherries arrive at the shops, identified with the DOP quality seal.
The protected varieties of cherries and Picota cherries for fresh consumption are native to the region. There are four varieties of Picota: Ambrunés, Pico Limón Negro, Pico Negro and Pico Colorado.
The stemmed variety protected by the PDO is Navalinda, which can be Extra class or Class I, while the Jerte Picota variety can also be Class I or Extra.
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La Vera paprika has its history in the province of Cáceres thanks to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.
In addition to the export of the fruits, with several million cherries every year, in 1989 the Jerte Valley Cooperatives Group began to distil che