Friday, 15 August 2014

The fruit seasons.

Last month our Friday market stalls were full of peaches, nectarines and apricots - three of my favourite fruits and all at the height of their season.   Now the season has passed.   Nectarines have disappeared completely and the peaches which are still available have lost that luscious juiciness.   So what has come in their place?

Years ago it would have been Beauty of Kent, James Grieve, Worcester Pearmain, Cox's Orange Pippin, Ellison's Orange Pippin, Beauty of Bath - and a whole range of other eating apples.   Sadly, certainly up here in Yorkshire, none of these is available.   Are they still grown in the apple-growing areas?   I don't know, but they certainly don't arrive in markets and shops up here - we seem to have a choice of Golden Delicious (tasteless), Braeburn (which I think come from New Zealand) and New Zealand Cox's (maybe English Cox's later in the year).

But I am not despairing - for what has arrived in record numbers this year is the Victoria Plum.   My favourite English fruit - so ripe that it slips off the stone.   I buy a pound on the market and by the time I arrive home (they have been on the passenger seat in the car) I have eaten them all.   It is a crime to cook them - they are far too tasty.

They were, of course, named after Queen Victoria.   The first tree was discovered in a garden at Alderton in Sussex.   It was introduced commercially into Sweden in 1844 by a nursery owner called Denyer and is apparently very popular there still, where it is called 'Denyer's Victoria'.   But an English Victoria Plum takes a lot of beating - try one sometime.

15 comments:

Em Parkinson said...

No coxes here yet Pat. We live off them all winter so, with the nectarines and peaches gone fluffy, we're getting a bit desperate too! At least our Autumn raspberries are starting to come good but only two or three at a time.

Heather said...

Another childhood memory revived. For a couple of years during the war we lived with my aunt and uncle. He was a great gardener and had an excellent veg.plot and a Victoria plum tree. The are so luscious and take some beating. He also had a greengage tree - another favourite.

Amy said...

oh summer fruit! yes! love it all! we are fruit and vege freaks here, nothing better. Being winter here right now I love to make lemon curd with lemons I get given. Nothing better on hot toast. yum

Joanne Noragon said...

Peaches are at their zenith now, warm, juice running down my neck....

Hildred said...

Peaches still plentiful here and in their prime, - Not sure that Victoria Plums are available in this part of the country, but many other lovely varieties, - and the pears still to come! We have lost those wonderful varieties of apples thast used to grow on Charles' father's orchard, but have a great local variety, the Ambrosia, developed from a seedling on a Similkameen orchard.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

We miss the good old apples here in the US too - seems everyone wants to get in on the Golden Delicious (ick) though the organic ones have better flavor and are crisper - and the "new brands" of apples. Twenty years ago we had never heard of Granny Smith Apples - and now there are two or three bins of them in the stores - but they do make a fabulous apple pie. I miss the Winesap Apples so much - once in a while a fruit stand will have some - but never in the stores.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Oh - and plums here are pitiful at best - they are picked hard as rocks and arrive at the stores with bruises already appearing - and never are they juicy and sweet right off the tree. We've been searching for a farmer with plums for sale - but so far no luck unless we travel a couple hundred miles over the high mountains and I think that is a little far to go for a plum

Cloudia said...

writing this post was a plum assignment!


ALOHA from Honolulu
ComfortSpiral
=^..^= . <3 . >< } } (°>

Cro Magnon said...

I totally agree. My plum tree (which is filled with plums) is no comparison to a Victoria.

thelma said...

Miss my apple trees, and soft fruits, the rustle of the blackbirds as they spent most of the time on the ground feasting.

Pondside said...

I don't know that plum at all, but I'd love to find it. We have two plum trees at Pondside - one purple and one green, both nameless. They are nearly ready for picking, if I can beat the raccoons to it!

Rachel said...

I love plums. The Early Rivers are my favourite.

valerie greeley said...

It is so sad about our loss of English orchards, in particular apple varieties. I never made the connection before to Queen Victoria and her plum.

When I was a child my mum made Wimberry tart, it turned our mouths dark purple! I am told that they still grow but nobody can be bothered to pick them. I never see them on the market stalls. Same for damsons too.

Becca McCallum said...

Valerie - I had to look up wimberries and discovered that they are what I call bilberries. I look for them whenever I'm out hillwalking and generally they don't make it home because I've eaten them all.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lots of mouth-watering comments - thanks for calling.