It’s cherry picking season in the Western Cape, and you can spend the holidays foraging for the delicious small fruits at Klondyke Cherry Farm.
Located in the small town of Koue Bokkeveld a mere 30km from Ceres, Klondike Farm is steeped in a rich history of cherry growing.
The farm offers self-catering cottages and a campsite area for those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Visitors are welcome to bring pets to the farm, but dogs must be kept on a leash, and those overnighting must bring a suitable bed area along for their furry friends.
Cherry picking started on the farm in 1973, after owner Neil Garlick decided to purchase cherry trees in Ficksburg due to the location and long cold winters in the area—cherries need a certain number of cold nights to produce a maximum yield.
Visitors are handed a container when they arrive which holds up to 1kg of the small fruits, and will be able to find and pick sweet red cherries or yellow cherries.
After a day of searching for the perfect cherries and gathering them up in their containers, visitors go to a weighing area at the farm stall to determine the price of their pickings.
Card facilities are available.
Visitors can make a day of cherry picking by also enjoying a picnic or braai under the pine trees at the farm.
The farm advises visitors to bring along a warm jersey or windbreaker as it can get windy during the afternoon.
Trading hours are from 8.30am – 4.15 daily and the farm will be closed on Christmas Day.
Cherry picking season ends on December 31.
– Entrance costs R30 per person and R15 per child under the age of 10, while children under 5 enter for free.
– Visitors pay R60 per kilogram of cherries
– If you arrive before 10am, there is a R10 discount available per person.
Red and black cherries, known as Bing and Lambert cherries, are a deep red and a rich mahogany colour respectively.
The red cherries are tart, while the black cherries are sweet and make a perfect addition to a summer dessert (although they are also wonderful eaten fresh out the box).
Yellow cherries, called Napoleon, are usually pink and yellow in colour when ripe. The farm advises cherry pickers to choose yellow cherries with plenty of blush as this is caused by sun exposure which enhances the sweetness of the fruit.
Often large in size, these types of cherries are very firm and sweet.
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Health benefits of cherries
Klondyke Cherry Farm has listed the various health benefits of eating cherries, which include aiding with insomnia, lessening joint pain and reducing belly fat. Cherries also have the following health benefits:
Boost immune system
- Reduce the risk of cancer
- Strengthen cardiac muscles
- Protect eyes against infections and ailments
- Protect against microbial infections
- Provide relief from constipation
- Rich in antioxidant properties
- Help treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease