Sometimes I like to joke that our farm is the slowest start-up ever. Coming from the weekly sprints, quarterly reports, and furious tempo of the tech world, our farm focus on perennials demands a different relationship with time itself. Planting fruit trees, knowing we would not taste their fruits for 5-10 years in some cases, forces a deceleration of expectation, a move into a rhythm of the seasons over the span of years and decades.
I picked a few of our over 200 tree varieties based on childhood memories, the advice of other farmers, and tastes at the local farmers markets, but honestly, most of them I had never had before in my life. Now going into our seventh year on the farm, I have tasted at least half of our cultivars, and am developing some clear preferences on what I think are the best to grow here on the central coast.
Let’s Start with Plums
Here in California, we mostly see what are called Asian plums or Prunus_salicina. These varieties were brought over from China and Japan, and some were then further hybridized by Luther Burbank and others to thrive in our climate. Of all the Asian plums I grow, the yellow Shiro plum is the most prolific, photo below. Where most plum trees will produce a respectable 50 pounds or so of fruit a season, my six year old Shiro plums will give up to 100-150 pounds each. They are small golden plums, like pure drops of honey, with very little bitter or acid notes. Later in the season, the larger Golden Nectar plums ripen, which I prefer for flavor. The most rightfully famous purple Asian plum is the Santa Rosa, planted in backyards across the state, but I prefer the slightly more complex flavor of the Satsuma plum.
Asian plums are generous, generally disease resistant, and will start fruiting in year three in the ground, all great reasons to recommend them to any backyard grower. My heart however, is deeply biased towards European plums, Prunus Domestica. Let me be clear - European plums grow slowly, take 5-7 years to produce sometimes, and are not as well adapted to ever warming climate. But the flavor of a damson plum or a greengage blows any asian plum out of the competition.
The little blue/purple damson plums are maybe my favorite thing ever. They are one of the oldest fruit cultivars in human history.
The name damson comes from Middle English damascene, damesene, damasin, damsin, and ultimately from the Latin (prunum) damascenum, "plum of Damascus". One commonly stated theory is that damsons were first cultivated in antiquity in the area around the ancient city of Damascus, capital of modern-day Syria, and were introduced into England by the Romans.
Best Bounty Boxes Ever
With the stone fruit season coming to a close and the pomp fruit season just starting, we are offering our most diverse bounty box yet.
Get some while they last!
This natural mandala of an aloe may be one of my favorite drawings ever. I have turned it into t-shirts, and in attempt to make my designs more accommodating to various body types, there are 4 t-shirt styles available:
Yup, Still Roses
Our flower field, now under Jason’s gentle care is still going strong, and we expect to have generous blooms for you pick buckets through September.
Make a reservation today, and use this code (JOY15) to get 15% off.
Ask Me Anything
I am happy to answer any of your questions about fruit trees, roses and anything else growing on our farm. Feel free to get in touch with your queries and concerns, I love to answer them. Have a great Fall y’all!