CHOOSE FRUIT FOR TASTE
By Trey Pitsenberger, co-owner
One of the reasons we plant fruit trees
in our home gardens is to produce and enjoy superior
flavored fruit than what is commonly available to us
in the supermarkets. Peaches picked at the peak of ripeness
have a flavor that is beyond anything available at the
store. Fruit varieties grown for the supermarket are
developed for their ability to travel long distances
and remain attractive to the consumer. While the growers
try to incorporate good flavor into the fruit it is often
impossible to reconcile the two attributes of taste and
transport. If the grower waits until the peak of ripeness
the fruit is often too soft to travel. We as home fruit
growers can pick the fruit when it has reached the peak
of perfection. Unfortunately most people plant varieties
of fruit that have names they recognize from the supermarket.
These varieties are the ones developed for the mass market,
not for the home grower. So while you can pick the fruit
when perfectly ripe, the fruit it self may not be the
best tasting available. I know that if I am going to
take the time to care for my home grown trees all year
I want taste that is going to wow me. I need to pick
varieties of fruit for flavor, not commercial success.
Dave Wilson Nursery,
Hickman California, grows fruit trees for the garden
center trade. Over the last nine years they have conducted
what they call “blind” fruit
tasting. They invite nursery people and others to taste
fruit without knowing what types of fruits or varieties
they taste. They offer samples of fruit at the peak of
ripeness and ask the tasters to rate these fruits. The
ratings are then available to the retail garden centers
to help them choose varieties that are exceptionally
good flavored. Every year these varieties are offered
at the better garden centers their customers. Often the
customer still chooses the well-known name over these
better tasting but less known varieties.
In the world of
peaches one of the top tasting variety has been ‘Arctic Supreme’.
This two-time taste test winner is a large, white fleshed
fruit with a red over cream-colored skin. The fruit is
sweet and tangy with a fine delicate flavor, and a firm
texture. Ever see this one in the supermarket? One of
the best tasting of all fruits is the ‘Arctic Jay’ Nectarine.
This attractive fruit is firm, richly flavored, with
a perfect blend of acid and sugar. These trees were developed
by Zaiger farms, a developer of new varieties of fruit
trees for the home grower. These and other varieties
developed by Zaiger are developed for superior flavor.
are gaing a cult following, much like heirloom varieties
of vegetables are. ‘Tydeman’s
Late Orange Apple’ was developed in 1945 in England.
Richly flavored, firm and juicy, it is considered a connoisseurs’ apple. ‘Calville
Blanc Apple’ originated in France in the 1600’s.
A classic French dessert apple it is considered the best
pie a sauce apple around. These varieties will only be
available if you plant them in your yard.