Friday, June 5, 2020

Early apricots

A week or so ago I had a few fruits of Katy apricot from a new graft.  I'll wait for another year and let the grafts to mature before reviewing it. 

My Flavor Delight Aprium tree I have for 15 years, and it is a very reliable and abundant producer.  White Knockout and Twocot apricots are the recent additions.  Below in the picture, left to right are White Knockout, Flavor Delight, and Twocot. The picture and the tasting are from June 4, 2020.

All these are excellent apricots.  Flavor Delight is an aprium, but really tastes just as an apricot. White Knockout and Twocot are white apricots.

White Knockout is very sweet with mild acidity, juicy with nice crunchy texture and smooth skin.
Flavor Delight is sweet, juicy with melting soft texture, velvety skin. Highly productive tree.
Twocot is very sweet, melting but structured and chewy texture, small wonderful fruits.


White Knockout is a patented cultivar, and the trees are available from the Burchell nursery The fruits, when in season might be available from Andy's Orchard store in Morgan Hill, CA.  Most likely, there are other orchards that grow this outstanding apricot too.
Flavor Delight trees are common in nurseries.  We usually have the scions at the CRFG winter exchanges. I'm not sure if the fruits are grown commercially.  They might be too soft for the large scale picking and packing.
Twocot is a patented cultivar, and the trees are available from Stark Bro's. Andy's Orchard produces the fruits that can be found at their store in Morgan Hill, CA.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Loquat tasting on May 30, 2020

Describing here fruits of eight cultivars from three different locations. Argelino, Kando and Strawberry fruits are from my tree in Davis, CA. Fletcher White, Ed's Delight and Brandenton from a tree in Vacaville, and Haseeb and Frana came from a friend in Sacramento.

Frana, Ed's Delight, and Fletcher White are white loquats.  The other five fruits are orange.

Haseeb - Large fruits, soft, very juicy, sweet, no acidity, the flavor reminds the sweet soft summer apple with strawberry notes

Kando (Kanro) - Large fruits, firm, but still juicy, very sweet with low acidity, baked apple flavored

Bradenton - Normally larger fruits than the one in the picture, but all large fruits were too firm to pick.  The picked fruit is still not ripe, has some acidity, the flavor includes sweet under-ripe cherry

Frana - Medium size fruits, mildly sweet with no acidity, the flavor is mild and unusual, as it includes the distinct sugar pea and mild pear notes

Ed's Delight - Medium to large fruits, firm, sweet with little acidity, pear flavored

Fletcher White - Small fruits in large clusters, very juicy, very sweet with little acidity, bright pear-strawberry flavored. Below is a cluster of Fletcher White fruits. This year many fruits contained more than one seed.

Argelino (Angelino)- Large fruits, very juicy, a flavor bomb, as it contains high sugar and relatively high acidity, apricot-grape flavored

Strawberry - Medium size fruits, soft and juicy, sweet with little acidity, pear-strawberry flavored

My picks from this tasting are Argelino and Fletcher White

Plant material availability

None of these loquats are widely distributed. Argelino, Kando, Bradenton, and Ed's Delight trees are occasionally available from a few hobbyists, check the gardening forums and Facebook groups when looking for them. The scions are occasionally available at the CRFG exchanges. Currently, we are shipping the scions of Kando, Argelino, and Fletcher White, and we might have the trees later. Please check Really Good Plants for availability.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Loquat tasting on May 23, 2020

All fruits were collected from my combination tree on the same day, May 23 of 2020 in Davis, CA.

McBeth and Gold Nugget are pretty sweet but simple and flat. Franceschi Park surprised me this year as it developed a good amount of sugar.  The flavor is very nice, with the honey notes, some acidity, and the fruit is very juicy. I only have a very small graft and should back it up.  It will never be overly popular as the amount of flesh is not very large, but I want preserve it. The best loquats here are Argelino and Kando.  They are quite different, and it its hard for me to place one over the other.  However, I found that some people do not detect/sense the sugars in Kando.

Here is the order of my preference:
1. Argelino
1. Kando
3. Franceschi Park
4. McBeth
5. Gold Nugget

Plant material availability

McBeth and Gold Nugget are available from La Verne nursery which supplies them to the large retailers. Argelino and Kando trees are occasionally available from a few hobbyists, check the gardening forums and Facebook groups when looking for them.  Currently, we are shipping the scions, and we might have the trees later. Please check Really Good Plants for availability.
The original tree of Franceschi Park loquat grows at the Franceschi Park in Santa Barbara, California. See the picture and location of the tree below.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Avocado cv. Long South Gate

It was about a year ago when CRFG were asked to check out a very old avocado tree in the Los Angeles area.  The tree produced unusually large and long fruits, and the owner was very exited about it.  As the Festival of Fruit was coming up in summer of 2019 the LA area, I decided to visit with the owner while attending the event. My friend Ray and I met with the owner Leonard B. in August, where we found three very large and old avocado trees.  The trees came with the house and Leonard didn't know much about them. Only one of them produces these enormous fruits. Leonard himself does not eat avocados, but his neighbors pick the fruit. He provided us with the pictures of the fruits, that are about 9 inches long.
The fruits ripen in fall and the leaves have anise smell, suggesting that this is a Mexican type avocado. Leonard graciously offered us to collect the wood and some unripe fruits. Ray and I grafted the scions onto our established trees. My grafts survived the winter fine and are growing pretty well now. I also made three new Long South Gate trees on Aravaipa and Duke seedlings. I am looking forward to evaluating this avocado in the conditions of Sacramento Valley.

An interesting detail about the location of these trees is that the Leonard's lot is a part of the original California land grants in the LA area. These trees look old enough for me to speculate that they may have been there before the land was divided into smaller lots. I'd like to extend my speculation by saying that they maybe a part of the early avocado introductions in California.

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Early blooming apples

These are the five cultivars I found blooming on March 27, 2020.  They should be good pollinators for each other.

Pervenec Samarkanda

I received this accession couple of years ago from the USDA Geneva collection.  I am interested to see how this cultivar will perform here.  Our summers in Vacaville are similar to the hot summers in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. This is a very early ripening cultivar, and can be ready from end of June in Uzbekistan.

Pepin Litovskii

The cultivar has many other names, and thought to have originated in Eastern Europe. This apple ripens in Russia in September, but I suspect it should be earlier here in the CA Central Valley.  The fruits can be stored up to four months in fridge. This apple came to me as a cutting from the USDA Geneva collection.

Pepin Shafranyi

Excellent early dessert apple. A favorite in Russia. The cultivar was bred and selected by Michurin in 1907. The cuttings came to me from the USDA Geneva collection.

Brushy Mountain Limbertwig

The perennial favorite at the apple tastings held by the Monterey Bay Chapter of CRFG. I picked the scion at one of the CRFG winter exchanges in NorCal.

Hidden Rose

Also known as Airlie Redflesh. This is a pink fleshed apple originated in Oregon.  The cuttings show up at the CRFG exchanges. I obtained mine a few years ago from a fellow CRFG member.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Papaya seedlings make excellent fruit

Two years ago a friend sent me seeds from a Brazilian papaya fruit that she claimed was the best papaya she ever tried.  I started the seeds, gave away a bunch of seedlings, and killed a few in the open ground in Vacaville.  When outside, the seedlings melted with the first frosts in the fall of 2018. However, two seedlings got lucky as they were moved to my work greenhouse. They grew well over the last summer (2019) and started blooming in August.
While the first few flowers fell off, the plant started making the fruits right away. I had the first ripe fruit in mid-January, five and a half months after blooming.
Soon after I was able to compare the fruits from my two trees. While they both are excellent fruits and definitely the best papayas I ever tried, my favorite is #2.  This fruit has really complex flavor profile with refreshing citrus notes.

The trees are very vigorous and will need to go out of the greenhouse soon. I wonder if there is a way to propagate my seedling #2.

Some publications state that budding is doable in papya

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Loquat cv. Fletcher White

I have a relatively young tree of this cultivar that I purchased from Patrick Shafer in 2017. He sold it to me as Fletcher, but I only could find one mention of an old variety with this name. That mentioned cultivar should have reddish fruits.  I keep my tree under the "Fletcher White" name. I noticed that the last time Patrick was offering these trees, they were also under "Fletcher White".

Last year I took a few pictures of the tree and fruits, but never managed to put the info together before now.

The plant is growing in full sun in Vacaville, CA, and it produces very well. The bloom bellow is from December 20, 2018.
The fruit set in the image below is from May 17, 2019
The first fruit I tried the same day, May 17, 2019
The fruits are very flavorful and sweet when they are ripe.  Wait for the deep yellow color, that is their ripe stage. I'd say that this cultivar falls into the white loquat type, even as it's a bit yellowish. The pleasant surprise was to find out that this cultivar has one seed per fruit.  I found only one or two fruits that had two seeds in them.  All others were single seeded.

Another set of fruit pictures are from May 26, 2019.

To my knowledge, the only person who has trees of this cultivar for sale is Patrick Shafer in Philo, CA. His email is coolhybrids at yahoo. Right now (March 26, 2020) I have a small amount of scions for sale at

Early apricots

A week or so ago I had a few fruits of Katy apricot from a new graft.  I'll wait for another year and let the grafts to mature before r...