Thursday, September 7, 2023

Apple tasting - Early September 2023

The most unexpected thing in my one year old orchard is that I’m harvesting more apples than apricots, peaches and nectarines this year. The trees were planted last year,  and by now, the stone fruit trees are larger than the apple trees.

This post describes the apples I tasted on September 7, 2023. 

Cinnamon Spice 

A lot of glassy patches, excellent flavor, sweet with some acidity, the flesh is crunchy and juicy. 


This one doesn’t seem to be fully ripe now. I don’t expect it to be the real Opal. Someone sent me material from an old tree that made fruits similar to Opal. 

Jack London 

Dense and juicy, seems to be a winter apple. Sweet with little acidity. Not an intense but agreeable flavor. Seems it needs more time on the tree. This apple used to grow at the Jack London Ranch in Glen Ellen. It was a very large and old tree. The tree died a few year ago. I might be the only one who has this material. It might be a known apple cultivar, or a seedling. 

King David?

Sweet with little acidity dense but almost overripe at this point. Good flavor but not sure if this is the real King David as the fruit is light in color.

Ashmead’s Kernel

Very dense flesh, juicy, intense flavor including some quince notes, sweet with some acidity 

Brushy Mountain Limbertwig

Dense and crunchy and juicy. Good flavor but might need more time on the tree

Hudson’s Golden Gem

Lots of glassy patches , crunchy and juicy, excellent flavor with loquat notes, sweet with some acidity 

Pink Parfait

Needs more time on the tree

Faux Wyken Pippin

Apparently, my Wyken Pippin is not the real one. The description of the real one can be found at

The flesh of my faux Wyken is juicy, sweet with little acidity. Very good flavor, but may need another week or two on the tree.

Korean Giant Asian pear 

A good quality Asian pear. Structured and juicy, very sweet.

The earlier apple tastings are under these links:

Thursday, August 24, 2023

Tomato tasting in August of 2023

 This post describes the tomatoes I harvested and tasted in the last week of August 2023.

Pork chop has a good balance of sweetness and acidity, complex in flavor. I grow it every year. 

Black from Tula is very sweet and flavorful with low acidity, probably. Definitely will grow it again next year.

Early girl has a classic tomato flavor, I may grow it next year. 

Hearts Delight is more sweet than sour, good but not exceptional and cracking a lot compared to other cultivars. Not going to grow it next year.

Todd’s Amish Country is plain in the flavor, low acid, low sugar. Not going to grow it again.

Pork chop has a good balance of sweetness and acidity, complex in flavor. I grow it every year. 

Black Crim is very sweet and nicely flavored.

Carbon is sweet with low acidity, nicely flavored and meaty.

? - Balanced meaty fruit, strong productive plant.

Anna Russian is sweet with low acidity, nice fruit with great flavors, meaty and juicy.

Pink Berkeley Tie Dye is sour-sweet juicy, good fruit.

Optimal is sweet with some acidity and complex flavors, juicy.

I’m going to grow again all cultivars from the second plate.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Second set of summer apples

 This post describes four apple cultivars ripened by the end of July 2023. These were grown in a Sacramento Valley orchard. Below left to right: Mislabeled (probably Ginger Gold), Pepin Shafranyi, Red Alla (probably a strain of Gravenstein), and Amy’s Pink Flesh.

Amy’s Pink Flesh 

Soft, mushy, low acid, low sugar with some bitterness. Overripe by now, but was better tasting a week ago. Below is a picture of Amy’s Pink Flesh on July 21, 2023.

Red Alla

This might be a strain of Gravenstein. The fruit stem is very short, the flowers fit the Gravenstein type, see the flowers pictured below. I do not have a Gravenstein fruiting tree to compare directly. 

Soft but structured flesh with good balance of sweetness and acidity. Enjoyable to eat. Can form glassy patches, see the picture below. For the summer apples, I don’t consider the glassy patches to be a defect.

Pepin Shafranyi 

The flesh is denser than Gravenstein but juicy. Excellent balance of sweetness and acidity with some unusual flavors, maybe kiwi. Very enjoyable to eat. The flesh of some fruits gets the glassy patches, at least in my hot climate. I do not consider it as a defect for a summer apple.


I suspect this is Ginger Gold. Crunchy-soft-juicy flesh. Mostly sweet with a little acid. Very pleasant to eat. Seems to be sunburn resistant.

Sunday, July 9, 2023

Early Apples in 2023

 This post describes three cultivars of early apples which fruited for me in late June - early July of 2023.

Pervenec Samarkanda (Первенец Самарканда)

The cultivar was introduced in 1959 by the Shreder (currently Miszayev) institute of pomology and viticulture in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The USDA station in Geneva, NY grows this accession.  The name meaning (translated from Russian) is “Firstborn of Samarkand”. This probably refers to it being the earliest ripening apple. 

This accession fruited the first time this year for me, and turned out to be my best early apple of the season. The fruits are juicy, sweet-sour, very bright in the flavor and good in texture. They are medium-small in size, the skin is mostly light yellow, the flesh is white. This is considered to be the best apple for drying, and I understand why - the flavor will be even more concentrated in the dry fruit. I do not think this apple has any storage potential, and should be consumed in under a few weeks.

This apple deserves a better distribution especially in the hot climates. The fruits had none or minimal sunburn damage after the heatwave in June with the temperatures of over 110F. The tree canopy was very minimal and most fruits were exposed to sun.

Lowland Raspberry 

The accession is occasionally available as scions at the CRFG winter exchanges. This is a very old selection from the 19th century or even earlier. Originated in Lithuania and known back then in the Russian Empire as Malinovoye Lievlandskoe (Малиновое Лифляндское). I suspect that nowadays this cultivar in known in Russia as Ranet Letnii (Summer Ranet). There are no traces of Малиновое Лифляндское on the present Russian pages on the web. However, this cultivar is listed in the Botanical Glossary (in Old Russian) from 1878.

This is a sweet soft apple with low acidity. Good eating, pleasant and mellow in flavor. The fruits had some sunburn damage after the heatwave.

The fruits are yellow and striped with red, a bit wavy in the form. The flesh is white.

June Wealthy 

The scions of this accession came to me from the Perfect Circle farm in Vermont. These fruits were the largest, most attractive in the color, but also the most sour and sharp in the flavor. Most fruits were also badly damaged by the sunburn. Hopefully when the tree develops a larger canopy, the sunburn will not be as bad. This apple is for those who prefer sour apples.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Pouteria species in the open ground in Davis, CA

 This post describes the Pouteria plants which survived multiple winters and summers in Davis, California.

My Montero Lucuma plant (Pouteria lucuma biotype Montero) was started from the seed of the tree growing at the San Diego botanical garden. Below are the pictures of the fruit from 2017.

The tree is over 8 ft now and I just noticed the first flower bud on it, the picture below.

The Montero biotype tree has short internodes with dark green leaves, the picture below.

My second Lucuma tree was started from a yellow type of Lucuma fruit in 2017 as well. This tree is now well over 10 feet and bloomed as least once already last year. I just found new flower buds on it, the picture is below.

The leaves on this tree are larger, medium green, and the internodes are longer, see the picture below.

I purchased my Canistel tree (Pouteria campechiana) as a small seedling from Ben’s Subtropicals during the Festival of Fruit in San Luis Obispo in 2016. This turned out to be the most vigorous Pouteria I have. The tree bloomed already for a number of years. Probably 10-11 feet tall now.

The fourth Pouteria I have in the ground is Cinnamon Apple, Pouteria hypoglauca. I purchased this tree in 2017 from the Roger Meyer estate. While this tree never bloomed yet, I’m still surprised that it can survive in my climate especially after the winter we just had in 2022-2023. Below is a picture of one of the branches ends. This tree is about 4 feet tall.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Harvey’s Early Yellow Peach

 A few years ago, my friend Harvey Correia discovered a large branch producing yearly peaches on his old peach tree. He purchased the tree over 25 years ago as Last Chance and recalls that he might have grafted it with Fairtime, both of which are late season peaches. The tree still produces at least one type of late peaches. I need to go back later in the season and taste those. He suspects that this branch with early yellow peaches that ripen in early June might be coming from the rootstock or could be a sport of the grafted variety. Unless we find out that this is known cultivar, we are going to call this branch Harvey’s Early Yellow peach.

The fruits are slightly flattened, medium in size, red and spotted. The flesh is yellow, melting, partially or almost freestone. The flavor is excellent with high sugar and high acid. I tend to think that it’s a Lovell seedling (the rootstock shoot). The Lovell fruits I had before were somewhat similar in the flavor, but those were ripening later in the season.

Monday, April 10, 2023

Public gardens around Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area

Sacramento State University Arboretum 

UC Davis Arboretum 

Sonoma Botanical Garden in Glen Ellen 

UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley 

Tilden Regional Park Botanic Garden in Berkeley 

Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek 

Rare Fruit Tree Grove at the Quarry Lake Regional Recreational Area in Fremont 

California Nursery Historical Park in Fremont 

Shinn Historical Park and Arboretum in Fremont 

San Francisco Botanical Garden

Emma Prusch Farm Park in San Jose 

Hakone Estate and Gardens - Japanese Gardens in Saratoga

Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside

UC Santa Cruz Arboretum and Botanic Garden

Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park hosts Bonfante trees

Apple tasting - Early September 2023

The most unexpected thing in my one year old orchard is that I’m harvesting more apples than apricots, peaches and nectarines this year. The...