Along the lands and barrens of the town of Qara in Damascus countryside, the sight of cherries hanging between the branches and leaves of the trees enchants you, especially with the reflection of sunlight on them and causing them to shine so that you feel the desire to stand and participate in the harvest season with the people gathered around the trees.
The exchange of stories, stories, chatter and laughter draws the picture of the cherry harvest season, which began several days ago in the town of Qara, which was confirmed by Mrs. Jamila Ahmed Zakaria, who said, “When we gather to harvest, we cook well-known popular dishes with the participation of friends and neighbors, and we remember the beautiful days we spent in previous harvesting seasons and the situations The funny thing we've been through."
With her simple language and spontaneous smile, Mrs. Jamila speaks to SANA’s camera while she is among the cherry bushes and inspects the size and color of the kernels. “Cherry trees are like my children. We take care of them and raise them until they grow and bear fruit.. They are part of people’s lives and fulfill their wishes after the sale of the crop.” She added, “We grieve when the season is not good and we rejoice.” When it is abundant, even if the fatigue is greater, we wait for it every year with passion and love.”
The harvest season also carries with it social situations and rituals that the people are accustomed to, according to Hanifa Al-Hajji, who indicated that as a result of families meeting to work and get to know each other more, they seek to engage young men and girls, as several marriage cases occurred later after the harvest seasons, pointing out that everyone works to protect the cherry tree and expand in Its cultivation and this season is promising and people are happy in it, according to her expression.
No one from Uncle Abdullah Al-Hajji's family, consisting of four young men and five girls, is left behind during the harvest season in the outskirts, which is an opportunity for them to meet and cooperate among themselves, in addition to being an additional source of income that contributes to improving their living conditions.
According to Uncle Al-Hajji, many farmers returned to planting and expanding cherry lands and caring for trees after the terrorist organizations left the area and rehabilitated the lands destroyed by the terrorists.
Children have their share in the harvest season, but they spend their time in a different way from adults, and you often see them in the top of the trees, having fun on the one hand and helping their families on the other, including the child Ali Khaled Al-Hourani, who confirmed that he shares his family with work and picks fruits gently and carefully for fear of being harmed, expressing his strong love For the cherry tree because it is his friend as he described it and he waits for her every year with passion.
Cultivation of cherries in the town of Qara began in 1976 with timid steps until it flourished between 1990 and 2010, according to a statement by the President of the Multi-Purpose Agricultural Association, Engineer Muhammad Badran, to the delegate of SANA, indicating that the cherry tree is considered a tribute to the people because the lands were barren in the past, but now they are rich lands in every sense of the word He pointed out that what distinguishes the continent's cherries is the taste, shape, size, color and hardness of the bean, as 90% of the production is for export.
The area of wooded land in the continent is 6 thousand hectares, and the number of cherry trees reaches one million and 250 thousand trees, including one million fruitful trees, the production of which ranges between 5 and 6 thousand tons per season, in which all the people work, in addition to employing a workforce that exceeds one thousand people annually during the season, according to Engineer Badran, noting that Part of the production is made from cherry and raisin jam as komuna for homes.
Badran considered that the prices of cherries are not commensurate with the cost, since the wages of labor, cultivation and spraying are very high, pointing out that the association provides part of the production supplies to farmers and facilitates their access to the fields, but it is necessary to provide mechanisms to reclaim about 2000 hectares and plant them with cherries and tractors to rent to farmers as rent Tractors in the private sector are high, in addition to the necessity of providing fuel oil and asphalting agricultural roads that were destroyed by terrorists, as the dust negatively affects the cherry fruits and becomes unsuitable for export.
Cherry fruits vary in their colors between dark red, reddish yellow and black, and the most famous of them are the Bing tree, Lambert, Napoleon, Black Tartine, Riverchon, Renner, Link and Baladi “Hybrid Cherry”.