Couldn’t resist the pun, but will change the topic name tomorrow.
Given we just got about 5-6" of tropical rain and are continuing to get showers every time the trees start to dry off it seems like an ideal time to keep tabs on what’s crackin’ (guess that’s another pun, but I’m not sure).
Flavor Grenade already was cracking up at God’s rain jokes, now most of the Green Gages have acted like grenades and blown up just as they were starting to get good. I noticed some cracking on Coe’s Golden Drop (don’t have many- they are new grafts), which doesn’t bode well considering how long to go until it is ripe.
Lots already harvested- I picked about 75 pounds of good-not-great Satsuma plums yesterday but will let people know about the fate of the rest if they start cracking. Lots of others to evaluate.
Jam Session (non-astringent Damson replacement) also cracked some. It’s closer to ripe, but not all that good right now.
Unlike Flavor Grenade and Geo Pride, which both cracked almost completely (though most had already cracked), the Honey Punch pluot only had some crackers.
I sampled this one and it was pretty good. Good enough that I’ll go back and pick all those with cracks for immediate usage. When I cut it, it gave off a small squirt of juice, but was nothing like a Shiro in texture (the last fruit to spit at me…). Aside from the cracked part, the rest of the fruit is still firm and almost crisp.
That’s how most of my Faith grapes look. Planted right next to them, the Jupiter came through better, though there is still a lot of damage. But for the faith grapes, I was finding only 1-2 intact grapes per bunch.
Burgundy Queen is 3 weeks from ripening and split like mad. Satsuma is ripe and not too bad. Laroda is a week away and not too bad. These are growing next to each other. My Euros all appear to be fine besides the GG I already noted.
I had the last 4-5 of them (ACN Valor) today. I’m glad I picked them, as they probably would have cracked too. One was only 17 brix and pretty pedestrian. The rest were around 20 and pretty good. But the ones I had yesterday were better (I ate the ripest first, so it was only the dregs at the end), with a 22 and 23.
But not many, right? Incidentally, Satsuma didn’t suffer too much. I’d already picked half the harvest but those still on the tree were mostly sound after the rain ended. Most of my Castletons were ruined, however.
I just pulled a Sat from the fridge to measure the brix and it reached 15 brix. I’m not sure most of them are even that sweet (I picked a relatively large one), but my wife thinks they are great, so I’m satisfied. Plums are about her favorite.
I’m waiting for Laroda to soften and hoping they show nearly the quality that Scott’s do. The first harvest years ago had me agreeing with his assessment but nothing that followed has impressed- they haven’t gotten up the sugar.
In the northeast it takes years to evaluate a variety because so much depends on the weather leading up to harvest. It helps to have several in the same window. Scott focuses on overall quality, but what matters most to me is quality within any given harvest window compared to its competition at that time. I draw my main satisfaction eating fruit directly picked off the tree and during harvest season that is the majority of fruit I eat. That said, for me Reema and Early Magic have yet to disappoint in terms of quality, although the latter hasn’t been a reliable cropper as Reema has. When Elephant Heart bears, and older trees are reasonably reliable, it is the best J. plum of all to me.
I guess I get about equal satisfaction giving fruit away, and I want that to be amazingly good as well. This year, the majority hasn’t been, but it is by far the largest stonefruit crop I’ve ever had. My local foodbank is pleased with it. My wife has also enjoyed giving many bags away to friends she meets when shopping such as cashiers that can’t afford good fruit. They are extremely appreciative and even pray for me Maybe I will get to retire to the big orchard in the sky where it only rains when you want it to and no pesticide is required.
Not many apples cracked yet. But if it continues to rain into the fall, many more will.
So far, anything that has ripened during this rainy season tasted poorly. These include Mirabelles that were pure sugar, now tasted diluted. Almost 50% have cracked. If we have remnant of the new hurricane, most will crack because of the timing.
To get three tropical rains within a week or two is extraordinary, but extraordinary things happen every growing season, more often than not, to our disadvantage. We are gamblers or masochists if we put our main focus on the harvest rather than the joy of doing.
Last year I had no stonefruit harvest at all due to hard late freeze, an event that rarely wipes out peaches in our region. This year it’s too much rain.
My focus is as much on my nursery as my orchard, and growing seasons have been great for trees lately- so there’s always that for me. My customers are very happy this season, whatever happens next.
If the new normal is abnormal, we’d better keep our focus on the process or find a new hobby.
My nectarines are all I care about between them and peaches. Rot issues weren’t that bad for me here, but I can afford to lose 30% of fruit on any given tree. I wonder if bagging doesn’t contribute to rot.