Cherry - BLACK DUKE
Originally a seedling from our Mazza cherry, this Black Duke seedling was selected for its heavy cropping of very dark red/black fruit that resist our worst winters( -35 C). These cherries are in the "sweet" category, making them excellent for fresh eating but also have the slight acidity of a tart cherry so they are delicious cooked as well. Because the stem of the Black Duke is so strongly attached to the fruit, we find that scavenging birds tend to leave the Black Duke cherries alone until they have devoured all our other "easier picking" cherry varieties...sometimes! Netting is still the only safeguard against birds ...so we are working on dwarfing all of our cherry varieties for easy bird netting and easier picking. Our 25 yr old mother tree of Black Duke is 35 ft tall and produced a huge crop of cherries after our - 40 C "polar vortex" winter of 2014. As most of our other sweet cherries had little or no fruit ...we were anxiously waiting for them to ripen when a flock of a thousand(or more?) blackbirds went crazy.... eating, screeching and fighting each other while devouring 1000's of delicious cherries...leaving the tree bare in two days...reminding us that Mother Nature is in charge and that cherries were obviously "destined" for birds...and not us humans! Plant with Mazza Cherry or any sweet cherry variety for cross pollination and better cropping.