Cherry Harvest Tours - Fouriesburg Country Inn
Ionia Cherry harvest Tours near Fouriesburg Country inn
Take a tour of the Ionia Cherry Farm and experience the beauty and magnificence of the Eastern Free State, where you will have the opportunity to take photos, pick cherries and take a walk through the orchard.
You can also experience cherry liqueur tasting. Don’t miss the opportunity to see and taste why they call cherries “fruit of the gods”.
Cherries have pleased the palates of food lovers for centuries. Their ruby-red colour and sweet taste won cherries a noble place on the tables of Roman conquerors, Greek citizens, and Chinese noblemen. German missionaries brought cherries to South Africa by ship with early settlers in the 1900’s.
The varieties included Giant Hedelfinger, Bing, Early River, Early Red, Elton, Renier. Some of the original cherry trees can still be seen on the farm today. These cultivars are still grown in the area. It is estimated that there are 500 hectares of cherry trees in the Eastern Free State concentrated mainly in the Ficksburg, Clocolan and Fouriesburg area.
There are approximately 250 trees per hectare and the average yield per hectare is 10 tons. Maraschino cherries, most often used in drinks and in ice cream sundaes, are made from sweet cherries. The maraschino cherry originated in Yugoslavia and northern Italy where merchants added a liqueur to a local cherry called the “Marasca.”
The first Cherry Festival was held in Ficksburg in 1968, launched by the local Jaycees with a street parade through town, a Cherry Ball and the crowning of a Cherry Queen. The Festival has grown over the years into an event during which more than 15 000 people visit the festival. The festival is beneficial to the Eastern Free State because it creates employment and is the region largest marketing tool.
This historic farm where the label Ionia is produced is set amongst the rugged sandstone cliffs of the Eastern Free State Highlands, is blessed with a precise combination of soil and climate, and is set at the precise altitude – landmarked by a solitary rock-needle etched against the skyline known as the Pulpit – required to produce the perfect cherry!
A farmer by the name of Van Rensburg started the cherry and fruit farm. Ionia the liquor brand name originates from a region in the Eastern Roman Empire, next to the Ionian see. Hearsay also mentioned that the boat name that brought the German Missionaries to the Southern point of Africa was called Ionia. Also, the small farmers train collection station’s name was called Ionia.
WHERE? Ionia Cherry Farm, Free State -20 km from Fouriesburg on route to Ficksburg
WHEN? Booking required. From the first week of November until end November
HOW? Call +27 (0)58 223 0207
HOW MUCH? Price on request
OVERNIGHT? Stay at Fouriesburg Country Inn