Our featured fruit this season is the plum and its close relation, the Pluot. Plums are easy to grow and have a great variety of flavors and colors to please everyone. Most people probably think of Santa Rosa when plums come up, but there are so many other varieties from which to choose.
Santa Rosa is a Japanese plum as are most of the others in our catalog, but there are also European plums, such as Blue Damson and Bavay's Green Gage, and prune plums like Sugar, French, Italian and Stanley.
Some people do not like the tartness of the skin and pit area of Santa Rosa, so for them there are quite a few with no tartness at all. Burgundy is a delightful plum with maroon skin and flesh with little to no tartness. Catalina, Nubiana, Methley and Satsuma are all sweet without tartness.
Inca is a very unique variety with gold skin and flesh with magenta specks when ripe and a very different, wonderful flavor. Prune plums are very sweet and can be eaten fresh, not just dried. European plums are more cold hardy and later blooming than Japanese and are very suitable for colder climates. Plums are also the most ideal pollenizers for their Pluot relatives.
Pluots are a cross between plums and apricots, being about seventy-five percent plum and twenty-five percent apricot. The crossing of those two fruits (which was achieved by hand pollination, not genetic engineering) has removed the tartness and increased the sugar content of the resulting fruit which makes Pluots delightfully sweet. Each variety is unique in flavor and tends to be more complex than a straight plum. All require pollenizers, so make sure that you have the right variety for pollenization. Most of the Pluots do not require a great deal of chill, but many are still hardy to USDA zone 6. Any Pluot would be a great addition to any orchard.
For very low chill areas, Flavor Grenade, Dapple Supreme and Flavorella Plumcot (also a plum/apricot cross) are great choices, needing only 300 hours or less. For an astonishing flavor in a beautiful piece of fruit, try Flavor Finale or Flavor King, both having rich, spicy, complex tasting flesh in dark skin. For green to yellowish fruit and beautiful orange flesh, try Emerald Drop or Flavor Queen, both of which also feature a prolonged harvest. If you are a fan of plum/apricot crosses, it is possible to have months of fruit starting in late May to June with Flavorella Plumcot and continuing on into October with Flavor Finale.
We do have some new items for this season. Two nectarines, Jolly Red Giant and Honey Kist, have joined our selection. Jolly Red Giant produces very large fruit if properly thinned and is freestone and delicious. Honey Kist is a yellow, low acid variety that ripens in late June. Also new is A.C. Sweet Pomegranate with sweet and refreshing flavor and the advantage of being extremely cold hardy to below zero. The ripe fruit can also hang for weeks without splitting.
After this very strange year, it is great to be focusing on the future again and the bareroot season and all of our hopes for what is to come. After all, to plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow!