These are even more–far more–luscious to eat than to look at. These are Emerald Beaut plums. It is incredible enough that, with this variety, we can actually be harvesting plums in the second half of October. It is even more incredible how rich and sweet the flavor of this plum is.
At 500-600 chill hours, it isn’t something that can be grown just anywhere. While it had bloomed in the two previous years (it was planted in 2003), it had never brought fruit all the way to maturity before. (It had set a few here and there in past years, but they all dropped.) So, I can’t say whether it really needs closer to 600 chill hours–which we certainly got this past winter, and then some!–or if it might just be entering its peak bearing age. I sure hope it’s the latter. I don’t need as heavy a crop as we had this year, but I sure hope to get this great taste annually.
Also remarkable is not only the lateness, but also the length of the season of this plum. I harvested the first ones as one of our Rosh HaShanah “first fruits” and, while that one was well short of fully ripe, it was certainly good. We have been getting fruit of full ripeness and sweetness since shortly thereafter, and there are still a few left on the tree that are not quite ripe yet. They also keep off the tree, if harvested slightly under-ripe, much better than most plums. One drawback has been that a significant number of the fruits have had some sort of fungus or other problem that I have not seen before–the affected fruit develops reddish patches. If said fruit continues to ripen, it is fine. But some of these fruits have then wrinkled and shriveled without ripening.
It really is a “beaut.” But “emerald”? Most of the summer, yes, but they have not been really good to eat until they have turned this reddish-tinged yellow.
In an earlier planting, I showed what the tree and its heavy load of fruit looked like at the end of August (the third photo at that link).