Brace yourself, Tennessee. Less common fruits are warning us that winter is coming.
A bit of peculiar weather folklore is calling for a rough winter ahead for Tennessee.
For thousands of years, people have turned to everything from turtle bones to groundhogs for answers on what the forecast holds. Of course, you could just listen to your local meteorologists who use state-of-the-art equipment to provide accurate predictions immediately, but where's the fun in that?
"Back in the day before we had computer models, folks still had to have a way to kind of know what was going on with the weather, and I think those folks were much more in touch with nature than we are today," said WBIR 10News Meteorologist Cassie Nall.
This time, it's the persimmons sounding the warning call. Yes, those small tomato-looking fruits that we pluck from trees in autumn apparently contain a wealth of knowledge about meteorology. All you need to do is cut into one of their seeds to tap into their knowledge.
Hiwassee/Ocoee State Park in Polk County posted their findings on Facebook Thursday. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the shape of the kernel inside the seed of a locally grown persimmon determines what winter will be like in that area, and the kernels come in three basic shapes: fork, knife and spoon.
A fork-shaped kernel means a mild winter. A knife-shaped kernel indicates a bitterly cold winter with winds that "cut" through you. A spoon-shaped kernel means there will be plenty of snow for people to "shovel."
The park cut into 45 seeds to get an idea, and it's bad news for people who hate the bitter cold and snow: 20 were spoons, 16 were knives, 4 were forks, and 5 had no discernible shape at all.
"The question with all this of course, in relation to what? Does it mean we're going to see snow at all? Or does it mean more than normal?" said Nall.
If you believe the seeds, the prediction is a windy, snowy cold winter. Combine this with the fact that The Farmer's Almanac predicted a rough winter ahead for East Tennessee months ago, and this does not bode well for people who hate snow!
For the most reliable forecast, she's looking to computer models, but it's still too soon to tell.
"You know, looking ahead for a forecast in general, especially that far ahead, it's a little bit of a flip of a coin at this point," said Nall.
Of course if you love snow, then maybe you should enjoy a nice persimmon to thank the fruit for being so kind in its predictions! The Old Farmer's Almanac page had a pretty delicious sounding recipe for persimmon bread at this link.