Favorite Euro Plums


Yup. Couldy and too cool for my liking too soon.

Rootstock is Marianna 2624, all three from Raintree nursery.


All my plum trees are on myro except my Flavor Grenade so called pluot. I wonder if a more dwarfing rootstock may have some affect of reducing the liability of excessive rainfall on a year like this.

By the way, I think you may have harvested your Empress too early also, unless they were becoming mush on the tree. They might reach higher sugar harvested later.


The one Empress I tried dropped on its own. The other three are still having on the branch. The first one that dropped was soft and sweet but only 19 brix which was not much comparing to Coe’s French Improved and Mirabell which consistently have brix between 22-27 so far.


I started a new line up so people can see the differences in sizes.

From left to right
Upper row:Bavay, French Improved, Mirabelle de Nancy, Mirabelle Parfume de Septembre ( these two look like identical twin)
Bottom row: Coe’s Golden Drop, Vision, Castleton and Middleburg.

As @scottfsmith noted above, Middleburg was the only one not ripe (a few fell). Half of Coe’s on the tree have not ripened yet.

Still wait for President, Ersinger and the rest of Empress and maybe one more variety that I could not locate the tag.


Make sure your Bavay is really ripe, because they are pure sugar!


Yup, very ripe. They fell. There were only two of them.


Very helpful Tippy. Thanks!


The Bavay is surprisingly small, I’m not sure how it got popular being so small. They are very tasty though. My Reine des Mirabelles are bigger.

I picked more Middleburgs last night. Even after all this time on the tree they are not good compared to their usual. Next year they get much more thinning and lets hope for less rain.


Scott, I’m sure you already know this but the French are more interested in the taste of the fruit rather than its size. When the Reine Claudes come into the outdoor markets you would think they are giving money away in the town square and when the Mirabelles are ready, you best have your own tree! They sell out immediately! Their soil is do different than ours!


French Improved is even smaller than Bavay but I like FI more.

Mrs. G- should I sell mine E plum at Farmer’s Market? Just kidding. My plums look beat from cracking, Surround, some rot, etc. I have hard time finding good looking ones to give away!!


I agree. One year mine looked as if they had exploded!


ŽMrs. G.,
I have my new favorite Euro plum. Thanks to @scottfsmith, I really like Frenched Improved. Brix is anywhere from 22-27 which is very good considering how wet this growing season has been in my area.

Caution: two things, cracking and a small size. With the rain we have had, almost all my mine did but not bad, mostly cracking on the top part. The taste is excellent.

The top one was Bavay, has some tangy taste to it.

French Improved were the bottom ones.

Below is the sample of cracked French Impruned



And this is what a great pal does when she knows you love certain plums and you had a bust crop! Thank

you my dear friend Tippy. I won’t show you the cookies!!!


Ate my first Coe’s Golden Drop plum yesterday. Pure sugar. Never had a fruit so sweet in my life! Wow!


I had a four person panel taste testing yesteday.

Of all the plums, Middleburg was the only one that did not taste ripen ( even those fruit fell). @scottfsmith said, it should ripen later in Oct here.

All the plums fell off the trees when touched. I assumed they ripened.

Somehow I forgot to take notes!!! Empress won overall performance with its large size ( an egg size) and its sweet, smooth taste. Thanks @alan for his caution that Empress should not be ripe 2-3 weeks ago when the first one dropped. It was worth the wait.

Coe’s Golden Drop came in second.

The weird thing about Vision was, the small ones were OK ( grafted on one tree) but the big ones tasted better (grafted on another tree).

All these plums were ripe and soft. If I picked them a few days earlier they may have had firmer texture but may not be as sweet.

My favorite taste-wise are Empress, Coe’s and French Improved.


Tippy sent me some of these (thanks Tippy!) so I can add my own comments on the exact same plums.

The first thing I notice is how much better these look than the ones I grow. My later ones get covered with sooty blotch and the tops get really soft and wrinkly. My orchard is too hot and humid for them. So, its a good chance for me to see how much growing conditions can change how fruit come out.

Empress is really outstanding, wow! It has a very fruity flavor not like the usual European plum. The name is appropriate, its the queen of the European plums as far as I am concerned. The only one I have had which would be competition is Reine des Mirabelles, which this year the deer/squirrels swiped all of.

All the other ones were nowhere near that level but still very good. I probably liked the French Prune second and then Coe’s; the Coe’s were on the watery side. Ersinger is boring to me, I had that one and took it out for that reason. President, Vision, and Middleburg were pretty similar. Middleburg is not fully ripe, the flesh is much more firm than the other ones. I’m not sure why they are dropping, maybe its getting too close to fall there. I could compare it to mine since I still have some of them on the counter. Mine have more flavor but are still not super great, it was not a good year for them here.


And yet here I consider Empress to be a quintessential prune plum- little better or worse in flavor than a few others I grow, including Seneca, fake Valor, real Valor and Castleton. I consider all those better than Long John or Mt. Royal most seasons.

The reason Empress has won out as my staple nursery E. plum is its size, spreading growth habit, and reliable and precocious baring. I meant to make it an important tree in my orchard but the designated tree has mysteriously weakened and now has inadequate vigor to even properly bring fruit to ripeness- last two years it hasn’t gotten the sugar. I planted a Bluebyrd right next to it that has somehow suffered the same fate. It will be replaced in a better location this fall.

That said, Eric of Plumhill farm rates Empress as both highest rated in quality and in yeald. However, he doesn’t grow the plums I mentioned that I consider nearly or fully its equal in quality. He also grows lots of other varieties that I don’t which Empress surpasses in his judgement.

Evaluations of my E. plums would be worthless this season, it being the grayest wettest one in memory. If any one plum performed particularly well it would be worth something, but at my site it didn’t happen. My Valors are good enough to use, but they also enjoy the best location. I did manage a Castelton that got nearly up to standard quality at another site. Dawn to dusk sun was probably the difference there.


Thanks, Scott, for your comments. You’ve eaten a lot of plums so it’s good to hear you like what I’m growing !!!

I don’t have sooty blotch (yet) on my plums. I did sprayed them twice with Indar in May and June. The advantage I have is all the three trees get a lot of sun and are pruned open centered ( at keast that’s what I have tried)

Some of my plums esp. Coe’s have wringly tops next to stems, not sure why.

@alan, my Castleton this year was not as good as the last year’s. Comparing to Empress, Coe’s and French Improved, it tasted inferior to those. It is so true about the weather being gray, cloudy and wet this year. That’s why anything in my yard that tasted good this year, has earned its keep.

@PlumHill - thank you for your info about the plums you grow. I got Empress from your list.


The thing is that when there is reasonable sun the plums stay firm and keep getting sweeter for a long time as they hold on the tree. This year they tended to quickly go soft before the brix ever got up. Once they get soft they start to ferment- at least this year.


Nice work on the taste test! Very helpful!