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The Warsaw Voice » Special Sections » June 27, 2013
Regional and Traditional Products
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The Vistula Cherry—Wi¶nia Nadwi¶lanka
June 27, 2013   
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Registered in 2009 as a Protected Designation of Origin, wi¶nia nadwi¶lanka (the Vistula Cherry) is a juicy fruit derived from the wild steppe cherry.

Wi¶nia nadwi¶lanka is a cherry variety that has been widely cultivated since the early 20th century. The fruit is excellent for preserves; due to a high extract level and acidity, once the stalk is removed the juice that comes out turns to jelly. Thanks to their unique flavor, color and aroma, these cherries are also valued as a dessert fruit. The fruit’s intensive color is retained even after processing.

The fruit is rather small, weighing from 1.6 to 3.3 grams depending on where the trees grow and their age. The diameter seldom exceeds 20 mm and the fruit’s shape is slightly flat. The color is the result of the fruit’s high anthocyanin content, over 115 mg/100 g. This is at least 20 percent higher than in the Łutówka cherry, which is considered to be the best for processing. The difference can reach up to 100 percent, depending on the weather in a given year and the position of the trees. Anthocyanins are substances with anticarcinogenic properties. This unusually high anthocyanin content in the Vistula Cherry could play a major role in cancer prevention.

The special qualities of these cherries are linked to the climate along the middle stretch of the Vistula River where this cherry variety is widely grown.

The registered cherries have to come from trees grown along the part of the Vistula that includes the districts of Ożarów, Tarłów, Annopol, Lipsko, Sienno and Solec nad Wisł±, on a total of about 1,000 hectares. These areas lie within ¦więtokrzyskie, Mazovia and Lublin provinces. The soil there is calcareous or calcareous-loamy.

The trees grow quickly and live long (50-100 years) on loamy soil, and 20-25 years on calcareous soil. In natural conditions the tree crown is shaped like a flattened sphere. The trees are resistant to diseases but not very resistant to cold spells in the spring, especially during blossoming, which causes them to bear fruit irregularly.

Wi¶nia nadwi¶lanka is also known as słupska, słupianka or słupiec. All these names come from the town of Słupia Nadbrzeżna, where the first trees were planted in the early 20th century. These cherry trees were selectively derived from seedlings of the steppe cherry, isolated examples of which can still be found in the region. With time, the cherry trees spread along the Vistula, hence its current, more often used name, nadwi¶lanka, which refers to the river.

Cultivation of these cherries developed rapidly in the interwar years. The increasing area under cultivation forced producers to seek new distribution channels. Waterways turned out to be a good option and the fruit started making its way to the Polish capital on a vessel that sailed regularly on the Sandomierz-Warsaw route. The cherries were very popular in Warsaw.

Due to their qualities such as extract and acidity, higher than that of other varieties, these cherries are good for making cherry concentrate; the concentrate gains a much better color and aroma from a smaller amount of fruit.

Wi¶nia nadwi¶lanka has been on the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s list of traditional products since 2006 and was placed on the EU list of Protected Designations of Origin in 2009. It was submitted for registration by the Nadwi¶lanka Fruit and Vegetable Producers’ Cooperative.
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