In Vernalis, California the Magee family has a farm of white peaches and nectarines. Their house is bordered on one side by a row of peach trees that run into their backyard – a 38-acre orchard. They have a small tin-roofed packing shed on the property where, every week during this time of year, Melissa Magee personally inspects and hand-packs all of the white peaches for The FruitGuys. The Magee’s have a unique philosophy of farming. Not only do they prune their trees to reach a shorter height of between 6 and 8 feet for easier picking but they also believe that by not treating their soil with nitrogen during the growing season their trees work harder to produce more sugar for their fruit.
Flavor Supreme Yo! Favor Flav is in the house. Rockin’ the Box is the Flavor Supreme Pluot. A taste test winner. This pluot has green dappled skin with a red blush and inside a sweet, sweet red flesh. Ch-check it — a hybrid of .75 plum, .25 apricot.
How do they come up with these hybrids? It’s not as simple as that commercial where a girl on skates eating a chocolate bar collides with the boy holding a jar of peanut butter, and they have a eureka moment. No, it takes years and many many many trees. They say it takes a lifetime to hybridize a new fruit. If keeping a fern on your desk alive is challenging then you’ve got to appreciate what goes into breeding fruit. To hybridize a fruit, you must cross-pollinate two blossoms. Not letting any bees or wind mess with your program. When and if the progeny emerges AND it has the character that you’re looking for — you take its seed and grow a tree. And then another, and another, and another.
The Grand Master Hybridists of the turn of the century were Grand Pappa Luther Burbank laying the bass track with the first plumcot, Fred Anderson the daddy of the nectarine, and Floyd Zaigler, reigning supreme with the pluot. These dudes were geniuses of horticulture, but maybe not so inspired in naming their compositions. Pluot (PLOO.awt) is an odd name. A delectable fruit and a taste sensation to say… like a lingual boomerang bouncing off the plosive bilabials (that’s the p and b sounds boyeez). Fruit and a taste sensation to say… like a boomerang bouncing off the plosive bilabials (that’s the p and b sounds boyeez).
Enjoy and be fruitful! – Chris Mittelstaedt email@example.com