I just got back from Leona Valley. I visited 3 orchards ( 4 Orchards were open today (Thursday)). I stopped at Rhodes Orchard, Hobarts Cherries, and Northside Cherries.
I picked about 1 pound of cherries from each Orchard.
They all had plenty of well stocked trees. Take someone tall and you will get some of the best cherries. Only Northside had ladders, and they did not allow you to move them with-out staff assistance.
The prices ranged from $2.75 - $3.00 per pound.
Everyone was very friendly and all the orchards (12 total) seem to be with in a couple mile radius.
As previously posted the Cherry Festival is on Saturday 6/14. And from my understanding the season is going to over in late June.
I took my motorcycle up there Bouquet Canyon until Dead ends into Lake Elizabeth made a left and you'll see signs at the first stop sign.
If you go Right you'll find two orchards one of them being Nothside Cherries.
If you go Left you'll find the other ten orchards with signs showing you the way.
I'm going to take my time deciding what orchard i enjoyed the most and go stock-up next week.
Ths past weekend, we went to Amber's in Leona Valley with our 3 1/2 year old. It was perfect for him b/c he could get under the low branches to pick the cherries that were hard for the adults to pick. The trees in Leona Valley are short so that kids can pick them. Amber's had a lot of bing and rainier but not a lot of the other varietals. They also have a little picnic area. We had a great afternoon!
Last time I went cherry-picking, it was in Valyermo which is near Palmdale/Lancaster. You could eat all you want while picking--no charge. You paid for what you take away by the pound. It is a lot of fun and a lot of work. There are some things to know before you go:
Bring something to collect the cherries in--like a bag over your shoulder, and bags to take them home in. The cherries are on tall trees and are NOT accessible from the ground. If you go on a weekend day, the ladders may be taken unless you get there early. The ladders are about 12 feet tall. The ladder I used was aluminum and I think it had a spike to be stuck into the ground and the top of the ladder leaned against the tree, if memory serves correctly. If it is sunny it will be hot so wear a hat and sunscreen. Have a great time, I did!
re: 420 Reasons to eat
I went this past weekend to Leona Valley. The cherries are $3 a pound, what they've beenf or the last 3 years.
If the farms haven't updated their websites in a while, I'd call to make sure they have cherries before you drive out. Also their Cherry parade is this Saturday, which closes the road for a couple of hours