Plums! (Ours!)

Posted by Cameron on 07.11.07 11:46 AM

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reservedAll spring, we watched the stone fruit come in at the Ferry Plaza farmers market. This year I noticed the cherries first, followed by peaches and what seems like a ridiculous bumper crop of apricots. Meanwhile, our young Santa Rosa plum tree poked lazily through its growth cycle. Flowers came and went, followed by small green globes that grew slowly and eventually blushed yellow.

Looking back, I had a very funny reaction. Even as the fruit passed through red on their way to purple, I didn’t think, “Those will be ready to eat soon.” Instead, I marveled at how impossibly bright they seemed and wondered if there was any way to capture the ghostly neon luminescence with a camera. The branches of our bergamot and lemon trees had been bare for so long that fruit was something that we bought at the Ferry Plaza. I had unwittingly come to see our own plum tree as a pretty abstraction.

Then I walked out into the yard last week and found that a plum had dropped to the ground. I didn’t think too much of it. The plum didn’t really look ripe and it felt a bit hard, but it did smell good. I took it up to the kitchen and called Anita to look. We took a few pictures, and then I cut into the fruit with a small knife and everything changed.

The juice ran out over the blade of the knife and my hand and dripped on the floor. Startled, I moved over to the sink, finished cutting a wedge, and ate it. The flesh was sweet, and tart near the skin, and it was as juicy and wonderful as any plum that I had ever eaten. Anita and I shared the rest of the plum through big goofy smiles. This was what we had to look forward to. We had loved our tree and it was becoming real.

The next day, there were more drops. I gathered three, and then a fourth and a fifth. Cradling them against my chest, I reached up and pulled gently on another likely candidate. It whispered free into my hand. I ran upstairs, deposited my load and returned with a bowl, circling the tree and tugging gently on the ripe fruit, until I had 13 in all.

We never thought that we’d eat them all before they went soft — we don’t usually keep fresh fruit for snacking. But these little devils are scandalously fragrant and once I smell one, I have to eat it. Anita has plucked more while I’m traveling in NYC, and we’ll soon have enough for a batch of brandied plums.

I still can’t believe that we’re growing fruit in our back yard. I left town on Sunday, but Saturday morning we were at the market as usual. I stopped at one of the stalls where we’d bought peaches, picked up one of their Santa Rosa plums, sniffed it, and then tasted a sample wedge. It was good. I like mine better.

(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved(c)2007 AEC  ** ALL rights reserved




Comment by Sean

Oh yay! I have to say I have yet to taste a plum at the market that makes me happy — maybe this week — so kudos to you for producing top-notch fruit. Matthew & Jim have a tree in their backyard that should be just on the verge of ripening, so I expect a grocery bag of the stuff headed our way shortly. Yay!

Posted on 07.11.07 at 12:56PM

Comment by Laurie

Congratulations on the birth of your plums!

Posted on 07.11.07 at 2:06PM

Comment by cookiecrumb

I’m plummoxed!
Say, what about plum ice cream?
(BTW, we are having a similar discovery chez Crumb. It’s almost time. Be ready on a moment’s notice. End of furtive message.)

Posted on 07.11.07 at 4:24PM

Comment by Kathy Ramsey

We’ve also made plumcello (with Everclear, natch). The color is gorgeous and the drinking delicious.

Posted on 07.18.07 at 8:16AM

Comment by Lori Lynn

Earlier this month we made Plum Tarte Tatin with backyard plums, it was fabulous. Please visit my blog and take a peek at the process.

Posted on 07.22.07 at 3:21PM

Pingback by » Blog Archive » Garden Update-Signs of Life and Tons of Citrus

[...] In Houston it seems like the fruit trees, azaeleas, and vegetables have been blooming their hearts out for weeks now.  Our peaches and apples set fruit in the latter part of February, after putting on quite the floral show.  We had almost 100% of our seeds germinate and our tomatoes already have blooms popping out.  So what the heck is wrong with the Black Mission Fig and especially, the Santa Rosa Plum?  If there was one tree in all of our garden that we were looking forward to, it was the Santa Rosa Plum.  After this, and this appeared, I felt like we had no choice but to buy one.  Here we are now in the advent of Spring and it seems like nothing can coax this guy out of hibernation—at least not any blossoms.  Yesterday though, I did notice a tiny hint of green. Signs of Life-Santa Rosa Plum [...]

Posted on 03.08.09 at 7:21PM

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