For our Food For Thought class, we created a food autobiography in the first person, as if we were the ingredient we researched. In this project I learned a lot about my ingredient – the cherry. I learned that no one knows where cherries came from originally. I am proud of myself for completing this project from start to finish. You can read my story below.
Mediterranean farmers have been growing my ancestors for over 2000 years. We were wild until the Assyrians cultivated us around the 3rd century B.C. Assyria was centered on the Upper Tigers river, in northern Mesopotamia (present day Middle East).
We need cold weather to germinate so we can grow nice and strong in the spring. Because of this, we can’t grow in tropical climates and it takes our tree 7 years to be full grown. In extremely hot summers, birds have been known to drop in drunken comas after guzzling cherries which had been fermenting on the trees.
Many believe that Roman general Lucullus brought us to Italy around 74 B.C. But we had been cultivated in Italy by the Etruscans before Lucullus’ time. So, Lucullus probably brought a better variety of us to Rome at that time. Others believe that we came from China around 4,000 B.C. and are named after Cerasus, a town in present-day Turkey. It was here where Lucullus first found the cherry tree. There is a lot of debate about our heritage to this day.
French colonists from Normandy brought our unborn children (pits) to America by ship in the 1600s. The French planted us along the Saint Lawrence River and into the Great Lakes area. Colonists, establishing cities like Detroit, Vincennes, and other midwestern settlements, needed delicious food so they planted us in their gardens where they settled.
Today, my cheople (cherry-people) are purchased at the produce section of the grocery store. We are grown domestically in northern Michigan, Washington state and Oregon. Sometimes we are imported from Australia. My people and I will be used to make a pie and we will meet our doom in an oven.
It was 1852 when Peter Dougherty, a Presbyterian missionary, planted the first cherry orchard in the Grand Traverse Area in northern Michigan. Northern Michigan is where my ancestors love of cherries really blossomed. One day I hope to end up in a grandmother’s pie for her grandchildren.
SOURCES (in MLA format):
- “Fruit: A History of Cherries.” – Urban Farm Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
- Scidmore, 1885: Mrs. Eliza Ruhamah. “History of the Cherry Trees.”National Parks Service. National Parks Service, 11 Apr. 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
- “Cherries: Varieties, Uses, History.” HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
- “Assyria.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Nov. 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.
- “Cherry.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 04 Nov. 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.