Fruit production and Calories

I was speaking with a gardener friend of mine about how productive some plant species can be in comparison to others. It still astounds me that you can go from tomato seed to a mature plant that easily produces 10+ pounds of fruit in less than a year.

Now obviously there are a plethora of reasons that one species like a tomato can go from seed to 10 pounds of fruit in a season (including its willingness to put its fruit production ahead of its own health) while something like a blueberry can take 4-5+ years to get to that production level. One point that I had not previously considered was calories.

While its true a tomato can produce 10 lbs of fruit, each pound of fruit only roughly equates to 82 calories. For that entire season it really only produces 820 calories worth of energy in fruit.

While something like a blueberry that manages to put out 10 lbs of fruit is actually putting out 2600 calories worth of fruit calories. At 260 calories per pound, its over 3x more productive in fruit calories.

This also relates to how such a puny plant like strawberries in comparison can pump out some massive berries with such a small amount of leafy material at 145 calories per pound.

I’ve also seen it mentioned on these forums that compared to some other fruit trees, figs don’t produce all that much fruit but thats partially due to the very high caloric density in figs compared to other fruits trees. They have a whopping 340 calories per pound as compared to something like an apple only has 240.

Anyway, just thought I’d share as it always perplexed me a bit.


Check out White Sapote.

1 Like

Wow! Depending on the source its 450+ calories per pound. Now I want to try one!

1 Like

This may be comparing apples to oranges, or at least fruits to nuts (lol), but I think the disdain almond growers get for using too much water may be misplaced. I wonder if they are far more efficient than we think. 160 calories per ounce vs. 15 cal/ounce for average fruits. Very nutrient dense, they obviously store well for a very long time, virtually no waste after production and the transport cost per calorie would also be very low.

1 Like

I hadn’t considered that either. With the tremendous produce waste alone, I wonder how much it balances out the water equation.

Almond orchards in CA are increasingly under high tunnels to conserve water.