Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fresh Fruit Samples from Dave Wilson Nursery
Mmmm....Yeah, like that...

When Bill Bird encounters a fruity scene from heaven like the one you see to your immediate right -- the first impulse that pops into his head is the overall urge to shove everyone out of line and announce (with a bullhorn no less): "This fruit has been impounded by the blog that is Sacramento Vegetable Gardening."

Thank goodness I ignore these types of urges -- as I most certainly would have incited a riot amount the HUNDREDS (dare I say thousands?) of fresh fruit and vegetable fans that showed up this past weekend for Harvest Day 2010 festivities at the Fair Oaks Community Garden.

This was the first time that Venus and I have attended said annual event. Dare I say that it probably will not be our last?

If fresh fruit is your game -- an endless game of checkers awaits. You're not going to find everything under the sun -- fruit wise -- at this event because -- not everything ripens at the same time. The world just doesn't work that way. My June Pride peaches are but an afterthought -- and the impending O'Henry Peach harvest is still another week or two off.

But there's enough getting ripe now on ye olde vine and fruit tree to satisfy just about anyone's palate. You want proof?

Dapple Dandy Pluot
How about this scrumptious offering of Dapple Dandy Pluots? The pluot -- a relatively new introduction from the fine folks at Dave Wilson Nursery -- is all the rage in backyard gardens right now. The perfect cross between a plum and an apricot -- breeders can't churn out enough varieties to meet actual demand. Question any nursery owner in the Sacramento area -- and they'll tell you that pluot trees are normally the first to get snatched up during bare root planting season.

As for Bill and Venus Bird? We have a Flavor Finale Pluot growing like gangbusters in the Back 40 that is our North Natomas backyard. Purchased from Bay Laurel Nursery during bare root season last winter -- we may be forced to order up another tree to serve as a pollinator.

I know -- unlucky us.

Flavor King Pluot
As much as I would have liked to sample what is currently growing in our backyard -- alas -- it's not quite Flavor Finale season yet. Pluots -- like plums and like apricots -- ripen up at different times of the year. If you're lucky enough to visit a fruit tasting festival in August or September? You just might be lucky enough to get a slice or two of pure fruit heaven.

No worries though -- despite the absence of the Flavor Finale. There was plenty of fruit to go around -- including the nectarine varities of Flavortop and Arctic Jay -- which are growing quite nicely in the Bird front yard as part of our experiment with the Backyard Orchard Culture concept. After one taste of each variety Venus and I both know that a bit of nectarine heaven awaits. Very soon -- one day -- our trees will provide enough bounty for not only our needs but the desires of an entire neighborhood.

There's nothing like fresh fruit season baby.

If you're in the market for planting a fruit tree (or ten) -- and you're just not sure what to plant or when -- this is one reason why you should attend a harvest tasting festival like this one. Instead of sampling just one or two different kinds of fruit from different trees -- you're sampling 30. Didn't like the taste of that particular pear? How about this one?

Harrow Delight Pear
That's how I discovered this Harrow Delight Pear. After just one taste -- I knew this one was a keeper. It is sugary sweet.  Indeed -- Venus and I have set aside space in the backyard for additional fruit trees after our failed experimentation with all things avocados (they'll grow in some areas -- and in others -- fergit it son).

No matter what corner you turned at this weekend's harvest festival -- there was something to either see or sample. Heirloom tomato season is decidely late this year (for some -- not for others) -- but there was still enough to go around for tomato afficiandos.

Black Monukka Table Grapes
The same applies to fresh-from-the-vine tablegrapes like this sampling of the Black Monukka -- which Venus and I planted as part of our grand "table grape experiment" in the Back 40 last spring. The vines aren't producing yet. They probably won't produce until the third year. But a tasting festival like this one gives you a chance to sample the bounty that will soon come.

So -- what was the best part of this year's harvest festival? If you like to look at and analyze trends like Venus and I do -- one had to be amazed and heartened by the young twenty-and-thirty-somethings that showed up -- children and dogs in tow. It's proof that the "grow your own" movement isn't slowing down -- indeed -- if anything -- it's still taking off.

That suits these gardeners just fine.


Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Looks like you all dad a great time. We were planning on attending, but other matters had us busy with something else. That happens when you have too many kiddos. Thanks for sharing all the great fruits and wonderful pics!

Jenn's Cooking Garden! said...

Um I meant HAD a great time!

Bill Bird said...

It was fun Jenn. I was a little surprised that there was more interest in the fresh fruit tastings than the heirloom tomato offerings.

LauraBee said...

We missed it this year (had reservations in San Francisco that couldn't be changed) ! Was there a sample of "cherums" at the apricot-plum-stone fruit table ? It's a cross between a cherry & a plum - DEE-VINE ! And not available on the market yet - neither as a tree nor as fruit. I sooo want one for my backyard orchard !