I got a chance to taste a Pitomba (Eugenia luschnathiana) for the first time (from my own tree!), and it only reaffirmed my belief that the rarity of rare fruits has more to do with lack of awareness than quality. In other words, Pitomba is really really good and more people should be growing and eating it!
The fruit bears a resemblance to apricot but it tastes nothing like it. The aroma was intense - as strong and enticing as a guava, though the actual smell was nothing like a guava. It was very unique. I have been told this is a quality common to many Eugenias. It tasted like it smelled - sweet with minimal sourness and a texture similar to any stone fruit.
For me here in zone 9b, Pitomba may or may not survive long term. I’ve heard it can tolerate mid-20s like its cousin Suriname Cherry, but my tree hasn’t been through a Bay Area winter yet. It’s a slow grower - 12 years old and barely 5 feet tall after growing up in sunny Los Angeles. The good news is, after I brought it home and planted it, my tree flowered and most of the flowers set fruit. One fruit ripened perfectly, so I know my summers are adequate for this tree.
I was so excited I made a video about my experience tasting the fruit so others can see up close what it looks like.
Melissa’s Produce is a west coast distributor of standard and specialty produce – and I believe the first to market Kiwi in the U.S. Over the years I’ve heard presentations from their representatives at UC ANR fruit trials and knew a few of them as colleagues with the same customer base. I encourage you to contact them and get their perspective as to why they don’t market some “rare fruits” such as Pitomba.
there will always be folks who will stick with what they grew up knowing or growing, and will find it hard to consider exotics. Or simply haven’t been to other countries or never experienced the bewildering array of offerings from elsewhere on this planet… . If you’ve seen comments in many threads here about ‘favorite fruits’, people who are well-versed with both temperate fruits and tropical fruits tend to have too many favorites, whereas those who know little about tropical fruits tend to have just one or two favorites, and expectedly-- their favorite is limited to what grows here.
just as it is easy to identify a favorite song/tune from just one or two albums(or one or two musicians), but quite impossible identifying just one or two favorite songs from a library of albums and artists.
additionally, there will be those who have concluded that elvis is king and tone-deaf to other musicians