Sunday, November 29, 2020

Late November Avocados

 This month I don't have any avocados on my trees.  When my Mexicola tree was young, it used to fruit into November, but this year it started very early, as I remember picking the first fruits in August. Most of Mexicola fruits we harvested by early October. On October 25, I picked the last fruit from my tree. It was a Brazos Belle fruit from a recent graft onto my large Mexicola. The fruit was good, but not as intensely flavored as Mexicola.

In November, I started to buy store avocados.  The first pack of small fruit from a fruit stand made me question if those were even Hass. They were watery, but OK in flavor. The next pack of medium sized Hass from a large store seems to be even worse.  Today I compared one of the Hass fruits with a fruit of Mexican cultivar that my neighbor gifted me.

The Mexican cultivar definitely wins, although it is not very oily, not as nutty as Mexicola, but overall a better one in this comparison. My neighbor does not know the cultivar name. I thought that this is Mexicola Grande, but not sure about it anymore.  More fruits from this tree are in the last picture.  Please comment if you know the variety name.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Pomegranate cultivar Linda

This chance seedling is from the farm of Harvey Correia in Isleton. He grows various excellent cultivars of pomegranates, and he suspects that this tree is a seedling of one of them. The fruits are medium to large in size, very dark. The arils are very large and dark with soft seeds.  The seeds seem to be softer than Desertnyi's seeds. The flavor reminds me of Desertnyi, but a bit sweeter, like a cross with Vina. Overall, an excellent accession, and I am planning to make a tree for myself.

The propagation wood is usually available during our winter sale at

White sapote cultivar Fisch

I have a small graft of Fisch white sapote on my Golden Globe tree. The Fisch graft was from 2018 and produced two ripe fruits in November 2020. The fruits are pretty different from most white sapote cultivars I tasted.  Fisch fruits are dense and do not macerate when overripe. The skin is not bitter and very thin. The flavor is very nice with citrusy notes.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

November fruits of Sacramento Valley

I am planning to write quick posts here on what I have fruiting every months of the year.

November might be the most productive month here in the Sacramento Valley. 

1. Pomegranate - most if not all cultivars are ready

2. Feijoa - midseason cultivars are dropping fruits

3. Persimmons - mostly just Jiro from the old trees on the farm. From the newer grafts, I just collected the first fruit of an old astringent cultivar I call Watermelon.  A few American persimmons, Early Jewel, Lehman's Delight and Meader

4. Citrus - Early satsumas (Okitsu Wase, Miyagawa, Miho Wase), Rangpur Lime, Thornless Mexican lime

5. Tropical guava - My Brazilian seedling produces plenty of fruit 

6. Kei Apple - The productive "Sweet Female #4" - good amount of fruit into November

7. Che - Oregon Exotics is ripe and the production is good

8. Occasionally I pick dragon fruits. On November 11, I picked "Hardy", and on November 21 "Haley's Comet" and "Vietnamese Giant"

9. Cherimoya Fortuna produced one very nice fruit

10. No avocados on my trees, all finished, but my neighbor's tree is fruiting now.  The cultivar might be Mexicola Grande or another Mexican large fruited cultivar.  I need to graft her wood onto my tree.

Watermelon persimmon below
Haley's Comet and Vietnamese Giant dragon fruits
My neighbor's avocados

The propagation wood for many fruiting trees is usually available during our winter sale at

Friday, November 20, 2020

Early Satsuma mandarins

Okitsu wase satsuma is ready in October, and it is my first mandarin.  It is followed by Miyagawa satsuma, and Miho wase is just starting now.  My Miho wase is grafted onto a Navel orange tree, and the fruits probably would be better if grafted on a regular rootstock or another mandarin.

In the pictures below, left to right are Miho wase, Miyagawa, and Okitsu wase satsumas. 

Okitsu wase is very good starting from October, and it is still the best one out of these three satsumas in November. The outer color of these mandarins are often green and does not reflect the fruit ripeness. 

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Cherimoya cultivar Fortuna

This cultivar was registered by Nino Cupaiuolo with the California Rare Fruit Growers in 1997.  Fortuna is not distributed widely, as it did not make it to any of the large commercial nurseries. La Verne propagates many other cherimoya cultivars, but not Fortuna.  Five years ago I was gifted a small grafted tree by a friend in Southern California.  The tree made it through couple of first harsh winters we had in Davis, and finally started to produce.  I do not expect to get a lot of fruits, as the tree is growing in a very densely planted bed along with a few other trees. Like many home gardeners I grow too many trees in too little space.  Never the less, today I harvested a very nice sweet fruit.  I believe this cultivar deserves a better distribution.  An important attribute of this cultivar is its early fruiting time, that should allow to harvest the fruits before the frosts. We occasionally have them in the Sacramento Valley.

Check our sales site if we have the cuttings available during our late winter- early spring sale at

Monday, November 16, 2020

Hylocereus undatus cv. Hardy

Back in 2015 I visited the garden of Leo Manuel in San Diego.  Leo is known for his collection of dragon fruits, mangos, and other tropicals.  The purpose of my visit was to buy the book on dragon fruit written buy Paul Thomson. During the yard visit, Leo offered me two cuttings from the plants that were not well distributed.  One was a hybrid between some tropical species that promptly died in it's first winter in Davis.  The second one was a pure H. undatus acquired from a friend. All he knew is that the plant should be hardier than most.  He called it "Hardy". Five years after, the plant still lives in Davis and occasionally fruits. The flowers are self fertile. The fruit is typical of an undatus. It is large, white fleshed, mildly sweet. The flesh is significantly sweeter in the middle of the fruit as compared to the fruit periphery. The fruit in the pictures below was collected on November 10, 2020 and was of an excellent quality. 

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Kei Apple selections. Sweet female #4

In 2014 I decided to germinate the seeds from the fruit I got from the garden of Edgar Valdivia in Southern California. In 2015 I planted six seedlings by the Western fence in my front yard in Davis, and another five seedlings at the Vacaville farm. While I got the first fruits from my Davis seedlings, these were shy bearers as they only get the sun in the afternoons. In 2020 I didn't get a single fruit from my Davis kei apples. 

This year all five Vacaville trees bloomed, and I could easily sex them by looking at the flowers. I got three females (## 1, 2, 4) and two males (## 3 and 5). 

The first Vacaville tree to come into fruiting was female #4 in 2019. It could be just a dozen or two of fruits last year.  This year, the tree was very fruitful with hundreds of fruits.  The fruits of this tree are unusually sweet for a kei apple.  They still have acid, but they can be eaten easily in large quantities. We started picking the fruits in September and there are still some on the tree in November. Two pictures below are from female #4 taken in September.

Females #1 and #2 produced just a few fruits this year. #1 has unusually dense flesh and more flattened shape than an average kei apple. Below are the fruits I tasted on November 15, 2020.

#1 fruit is very dense and almost crunchy. Definitely a desired characteristic as it will allow for better storage.  The flesh is darker then the other two fruits. This fruit was not as sweet as the fruit from this tree I tasted in September. September fruit was sweet, this fruit was sour.
#2 fruit is more juicy than #1.  The fruit is typical and sour, like a regular Kei Apple fruit.
#4 fruit is significantly sweeter and juicier than the other two fruits. Still, the fruits from this tree seem to be less sweet in November that they were in September.  We already had couple of frosty nights in Vacaville, and this could have affected the accumulation of sugars.  

I have a tasting video made in September. This is for mostly #4 and just one fruit of #1:

Everyone who tasted the fruit from the seedling #4 liked it, so this is a good candidate for growing it more widely.  The tree got a VIP treatment yesterday, as I pruned it to a nice shape that should allow for easier access to the fruit in the following years.


Saturday, November 14, 2020

Che fruit or Mandarin melon berry cultivar Oregon Exotics

I grow a couple of these, a male and a female. They go under the cultivar name Oregon Exotics, as they were originally distributed by the nursery with this name. The female produces very large sweet fruit that ripen in November. I made both trees in 2017 by grafting the scions onto Osage orange rootstocks. The female started to produce in 2018, and this year (2020) I have a pretty good crop.

The fruits are up to 2 inches and very juicy. Che fruit is very unusual in the fruit world, as it has a very low acidity with the pH of 6.5.
This fruit contained 21 small seeds. They are relatively soft and don’t bother me. 

Che fruits should be consumed when fully ripe, like figs. Before that they will bleed milky sap and will not be really edible. When fully ripe, they are extremely sweet. 

Right now we are also at the end of the Kei Apple ripening season. I happened to have a bit of Kei Apple juice in the fridge. Kei Apple makes a very bright yellow juice on the acidic side. After juicing Che fruits, I got the bright red sweet juice. They combine into a nice drink with good balance of sweet and sour.

Check our sales site if we have the scions available

Sunday, November 8, 2020

My feijoa selections, tasting in 2020

 A year ago I selected two excellent tasting feijoa seedling. For now they go under Marta 7 and Marta 10 names.  All the details about them are in my last year post Feijoa Taste Tests.

This year I re-tasted these twice, and also included my #6 that was the third in the flavor quality last year. This past summer of 2020 was very hot with five heat waves of over 100F.  Never the less, both seedlings developed a good amount of fruits.  The inner jelly seems to be a bit less developed than last summer. However this didn't affect the flavor and texture.  My favorite is still #10 (Marta 10), followed by #7 (Marta 7).  #6 can be very good and sharp, but if the fruit is a bit under ripe, it can be very sour. 

The picture below is from November 3, 2020. #6 is on top, Marta 7 is on the left, Marta 10 is on the right.

The next picture is from November 8, 2020. Marta 7 is on the left, Marta 10 is on the right.

For selections "Marta 7" (Cosmos)  and "Marta 10" (Oktoberfest), the scionwood maybe available at

Friday, November 6, 2020

Senjed, Джида, or the cultivated form of Russian olive

This fall I harvested the first fruits from my senjed tree of Turkish origin. I also grow couple of seedlings, and I have a graft of an Iranian senjed cultivar. Up to now, only the Turkish one bloomed and fruited.  While the official species name seems to be Elaeagnus angustifolia, the cultivated varieties are occasionally separated into Elaeagnus orientalis

The tree produces very fragrant flowers in May. Even just a few flowers create a lot of very sweet aromas in the garden.  They are small and yellow, and have preformed fruits at the bases.

The fruits are ready in October - November.  They are very astringent when unripe. The ripe fruits of this cultivar are light brown, over an inch long.

I prefer to skin the dry paper shell off the fruit. The sweet mealy power completely dissolves in the mouth and reveals the single long seed.  The powder is not just sweet, it also includes some unusual flavors that are hard to associate with more common fruits. 
Recently I purchased a bag of lucuma powder, and I was very surprised to find a high degree of flavor similarity between dry lucuma and senjed. In the first few seconds, I thought that the powder was made out of senjed.  It took me a few more moments to start tasting the specifics of lucuma flavor in it.  Somehow, these unrelated fruits have a high degree of similarity in the flavors.

The dormant scions of senjed are usually available during our winter sales at

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Cupuaçu, my first time tasting the fruit

I was quite excited yesterday when I found my first ever cupuacu delivered from Puerto Rico. It was too late to try it yesterday, so we tasted it today, on November 3, 2020. Thank you Bryan Brunner from Montoso Gardens in Puerto Rico.

The package smelled like a fresh acrylic paint, and my husband thought that I got a spray paint and it exploded inside. The smell was actually not that strong. It could be that the cardboard box just accumulated a lot of it while in the transit. The fruit is large, brown, and velvety with a hard shell. Here it is next to my head.

To open the fruit I dropped it a few times onto the concrete patio. When the shell is cracked it is easy to open the fruit by the removing the shell pieces simply by hands. The inside smell is different, and more fruity but still with a lot of aromas we used to associate with artificial flavorings. Some kind of a mix of pineapple, passion fruit, jack fruit, etc. 
The fruit consists of multiple large segments each containing one large seed.  There are couple of videos posted by fruit geeks stating that the fruit is very sour.  So I was careful when putting the first segment into my mouth.  Maybe I'm more used to sour fruit, but I didn't find it especially sour.  The sourness is mostly present on the fibers' ends that are close to the seeds. 
For the rest of the segments I cut off the flesh with scissors, and collected it into a bowl.  I probably consumed a good quarter of the fruit in the process.

The flesh has incredibly powerful flavors and aromas.  Like every strong flavored fruit you had, all mixed into one. I could taste pineapple, guava, jackfruit, passionfruit... Now combine this with the texture of salmon sashimi! While I'm typing this, my hands still smell chocolaty passionfruit. In this fruit I found 26 segments with seeds. The middle core consisted of hard fibers covered with the most sweet and soft flesh.

I consumed that middle flesh happily, and this revealed the hard fibers that were holding it.
My husband found the fruit very good, interesting and complex, and his first impression was that I gave him a Russian style salted salmon.  Apparently the texture is more important for him that the actual flavors.  He got all of them later too, and says that there are many of them in this fruit.  The fruit was too overwhelming for my son, who is a kind of a purist.  He didn't appreciate that many flavor in one fruit on top of the unexpected texture. More goes to me! I'm going to experiment with the remaining pulp and mix it with dates and water.

Frost tolerance of Himalayan Mulberries

 The past winter of 2023-2024 was the second test for my Himalayan mulberries frost tolerance. I have five two-years old trees of four culti...