2012 FRUIT SEASON AT LEVERING ORCHARD
Contact: Frank Levering
What a crazy winter -- and what an early spring -- we have had in 2012 in the Blue Ridge Mountains! What happened to winter? Did winter retire and move to Florida or something? What we had, instead of the kind of winters we are accustomed to, is Winter Lite. Very little really cold weather. And because of that mild winter -- and then unusally warm temperatures in Februaryand March -- all the fruit at our orchard is almost certainly going to ripen, and be picked, well ahead of the ripening dates in 2011.
You can see this in one interesting fact. Last year, full bloom of the cherries ranged from April 7 to 9, a normal date for fullbloom of our literally thousands of cherry trees. And this year? Well, you may have read or seen on TV that the cherry blossoms on the mall in Washington, D.C. broke into blossom way ahead of normal. Guess what? Same thing with OUR cherry blossoms. Full bloom this year ranged from March 24 to 26, some two weeks ahead of last year. This early a date for full bloom on cherries is absolutely unheard of at our place! So what happens to fruit when the blossoms come out that early? Unless something weird happens -- like the reapparance of winter in the month of May -- the fruit this year is likely to ripen ten days to two weeks earlier than last year.
Unfortunately, predicting the ripening dates for fruit is an inexact science, at best. But we have to TRY to predict it -- because we know our customers want to know when to come, and make your plans. So here is our best guess. You look at several factors -- but the most significant one is to count the number of days from full bloom to the first day you pick. Last year, we started picking sweet cherries on May 28. So that was 50 days, give or take, from full bloom. This year, full bloom being from March 24 to 26, if you count 50 days from those dates you arrive somewhere around May 14 to May 16.
It's possible we'll have some ripe cherries by then. But just to be on the safe side, it looks now as if WE CAN START PICKING SWEET CHERRIES on SATURDAY, MAY 19. This would be on the earliest varieties that we have. Because we have now 47 varieties of sweet and sour cherries, with many different ripening dates to extend the season, we can expect the entire season to run well on through June and perhaps as long as July 4 or so. There cetainly is a bumper crop -- a MONSTER CROP -- to pick. Despite two late freezes in the latter half of April, we have more cherries at Levering Orchard this year than anyone has ever seen. On many trees they are hanging like grapes! So despite the weird winter and spring, the cherry crop has come through amazingly well! Despite being so temperamental this year so far -- we still love her! -- three cheers for Mother Nature! She has worked her magic once again!
But some things remain constant at the orchard from year to year. We continue to have the best and the largest selection of anyone -- and we do mean ANYONE -- in North Carolina or Virginia. There is just no other orchard that comes anywhere close, when it comes to cherries. AND -- you can't beat our on-the farm FRESHNESS when you taste our cherries -- OR, their FLAVOR. You're just not going to find this kind of superb cherry quality anywhere else. So if you really love cherries, why not get the best?
Now as far as that MAY 19 START DATE is concerned. Do log onto this website, close to that date. If nothing here has changed, you can assume that this is the date we plan to start.
Or -- call us. The numbers to call are 336-786-4316, or 276-755-3593. Both numbers will give you up-to-the-minute information and updates.
And, thanks! We look forward to seeing you in our beautiful, mountainside orchard! Come taste the best cherries in the whole wide world!
-- Frank Levering, 3rd generation owner