Cherry-picked Railway Cherries

Una ciliegia tira l’altra – “one cherry pulls another,” goes the Italian idiom.

Cherry stalks are often joined, so when you pick one from the tree it pulls another. More figuratively, it refers to the fact that they are so delicious that you can’t stop eating them.

Ciliegia Ferrovia, literally “Railway Cherry,” a highly prized variety, is grown in the southern Italian province of Bari, chiefly around Turi and Conversano. Mid-May to early June is when the cherries are picked and both towns get decorated to host cherry festivals – time of eating cherries and merrymaking.

Legends claim that the variety’s name comes either from that it was first planted near a railway station, or that it could withstand long train journeys.

Below is a gallery of almost 40 photos with short descriptions. Buon appetito!

harvest in Conversano:

the crumbly pastatelle are Conversano’s typical pastry, stuffed with either grape or cherry jam:

Conversano’s old town illuminated for the cherry festival:

Cherry fair during the Cherry Festival:

cherry gelato in my favorite Punto Bar, Conversano:

your cherry-picking photographer. /sorry for no smile on this sweltering day ;)/

cherries or chicken? in front of a poultry shop in the town of Santeramo (the owner’s brother grows cherries):

Turi’s clock tower in the background:

Turi proud of its heritage:

Sant’Oronzo is the patron saint of Turi. Him and the Holy Cherry; of course:

buy them straight from the car, Turi:

Below are some photos of faldacchea, a specialty of Turi. The sponge cake and marzipan “coffer” is hiding a fruity interior. The classic white coating is made of sugar, but the choco version is to die for too. While in Turi, I met the president of the association that unites local pastry makers.

My friend Nico from Santeramo casually invented this: “Apulian Cherry Spritz”. Cheers!