Menu Close
Avatar
Log In
Please consider registering
Guest
Forum Scope






Start typing a member's name above and it will auto-complete

Match



Forum Options



Min search length: 3 characters / Max search length: 84 characters
Register Lost password?
sp_TopicIcon
Prune-type plums in the PNW.
Prune plums for Cascadia.
Avatar
Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
426 Posts
(Offline)
1
February 17, 2024 - 7:08 pm

Davem,

I think that you were the one who posted this item in the HOS Forum quite some years ago regarding the once flourishing prune industry here in a portion of the great northwest (namely, Clark County).  I saved the article because, of course, it was of interest to me:

<https://www.columbian.com/news.....t/&gt;

Now my question is -- and I don't know if you have the answer:  Were these 'Fellenberg', ('Imperial') 'Epineuse', or, 'Agen' ('French Petite') prune plums?  I didn't see the variety mentioned in the article, and perhaps the reporter didn't ask, but my best guess is that it might have been the 'Fellenberg'.  I'm always interested in fruits that can be preserved for use later in the year.

What variety do you believe it might have been which once ruled the county?  ...I love the fact that you access old, historical references.  I just thought that perhaps you might dig out the answer to my query so that I'd know the best variety of prune plum to cultivate for my own wintertime use.

Reinettes.

Avatar
quokka
Corvallis
174 Posts
(Offline)
2
February 18, 2024 - 7:29 pm

I'm not Davem (share his initials), but having read on this in the past, will take a stab at it. Most older articles cited the Brooks as the dominant prune plum in Oregon, some said Italian, and at least in some places Moyer was used. To my tastes, Moyer > Italian > Brooks.  

Avatar
katmendeux
45 Posts
(Offline)
3
February 19, 2024 - 2:29 pm

Reinettes,

Thanks for asking this question. Like you, I've wondered what variety the old-timers grew. I looked it up in Granville Lowther's Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, 1914. He says that California grew the French or Petite prune. Here in the Washington, growers planted Italian Prune aka Fellenberg (which doesn't sound very Italian to me). Another source says Brooks was one kind of Italian Prune. Not sure. Here's a nice write-up in the Plums of New York.

When I was a kid, we had an old Italian Prune tree. Probably planted in the 1920s or 30s. The fruit were small and sweet, and the tree always had huge crops. My mom put them in the freezer, and we ate them still half-frozen as plum-sicles. Which reminds me, I have a few in my freezer right now. Might need a snack...

Cheers,

katmendeux

Avatar
davem
357 Posts
(Offline)
4
February 21, 2024 - 11:17 am

I've always just heard them referred to as "Italian Plums" but I don't know the actual variety.  My next door neighbor still has 7 remnant trees (from the "prune hill" days), and he is happy to share his surplus if you'd like to try to ID them.

Avatar
jafar
770 Posts
(Offline)
5
February 21, 2024 - 2:19 pm

Interesting quokka.

 

Are you ranking them for fresh eating, prunes, growing?

I'm not sure I've had Moyer.  I like the size and texture of Brooks and have it.  Italian on my multigraft at my old place didn't do well, so I didn't bother.  Now I'm wondering if I should add the others.

I've got Yakima to go with Brooks as far as prunes go.

Avatar
Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
426 Posts
(Offline)
6
February 21, 2024 - 5:33 pm

Boy oh boy!  I didn't know that I was opening such a can of worms!  I didn't know that there were so many different, named, plums that were used for prunes.  I've been broadsided and humbled.

Katmendeux -- I went back to your historical and presumably contemporary "Plums of New York" for a peak into what was available and grown at the time.  Prince is mentioned more than once.  He had a fruit tree nursery, I think on Long Island, NY.  Years ago I downloaded a copy of his nursery's offerings to get a sense of what apples were available in New England at the time.  He was importing and introducing quite a few European varieties.  

Anyway, in the Plums of New York reference, I noted "...The Italian Prune...is well known in England*...is by long odds the leading plum in the Pacific Northwest where it is chiefly used in prune making...."  A specific clone is not mentioned, but the 'Fellenberg' plum got that name because it was introduced from Italy to Germany by a Mr. Fellenberg.  ...At least that explains the Germanic name for an Italic prune plum.  I'm still vacillating a little bit, but I think I'm leaning more toward 'Fellenberg' until I can get better information on the other Italian prune plums that were mentioned above.

More and more I'm getting interested in fruit preservation and vegetable preservation for use in the wintertime when "things just ain't growin'" but one craves the nutrients of the summer's growth and sunshine.  I guess that I was born too late to learn from the elders...  My Grandpa and Grandma had that irreplaceable knowledge, but so much of that was supplanted in America in the 1950s and 1960s.  Here, have some more Cheez Whiz....

Reinettes.

*[I'm always interested in fruits that do well in England because of the similar climate to that of Cascadia.  British apples always seem to do better for me here.]

Avatar
GH
Battle Ground, WA
129 Posts
(Offline)
7
February 21, 2024 - 6:00 pm

Our property was part of a plum orchard many years ago, and the offspring grow here still.  I'm not sure what trees were originally planted, but the ones that we have now are very nice; they all produce identical fruit in taste and appearance. They don't seem to fully match the description of either Italian or Brooks, so I gave up trying to figure it out.

The plums typically ripen around mid-September.  I don't water or fertilize them; aside from a little pruning of the younger trees, I do nothing except pick the delicious fruit.  They're amazingly disease-free.  They did suffer from coddling moth damage for a couple of years, around 10 years ago - other than that there has been no pest issue.  There have been a couple of years without fruit production (such as when we had the freak April snowstorm), but usually they produce a decent to an abundant crop.  For example last year my Japanese plums produced no fruit, while these plums had a light to moderate amount.

The fruit has amber flesh and is delicious fresh or frozen.  These plums are great in desserts.  Since they're descendants of prune plums, they would almost certainly make good prunes.  I love these trees.

I've contemplated planting a seedling in the orchard, to see if it produces an even better crop than the feral trees.  These trees can easily grow to 25 feet or more, though, and I'm not sure that I want the additional pruning chores to keep it smaller.  Since the existing trees typically provide an adequate harvest, it hasn't seemed worth the effort.

If anyone is interested in planting these plum trees, I can pot up seedlings this winter/spring.  I live near Battle Ground, Washington.  They grow fast and usually start fruiting within a few years.

(I also have a dozen mophead hydrangeas that bloom on old and new wood, in need of a new home, potted and ready to go - I hope that this isn't too out of line to say in a fruit forum.  But, if you're getting a plum tree, you might as well take a lovely hydrangea).

 

20210909_180311.jpg

Attachments
Avatar
Chris M
Philomath, OR
147 Posts
(Offline)
8
February 21, 2024 - 6:42 pm

I think I have serval of the same plums. There are several on the property. I gave up on ID as well. They sure taste good though.

Avatar
quokka
Corvallis
174 Posts
(Offline)
9
February 21, 2024 - 7:20 pm

jafar said
 

Are you ranking them for fresh eating, prunes, growing?

I'm not sure I've had Moyer. 

  

Fresh eating. Never tried them dried, but have seen them for sale both locally and online (in both case labeled as Moyer), so you should be able to get a hold of some dried. Definitely read up on, find a way to taste Moyer. It would be my first choice for a prune-type plum to grow. I knew somebody who had one in their yard. Incredibly heavy producer. 

Avatar
Chris M
Philomath, OR
147 Posts
(Offline)
10
February 21, 2024 - 8:31 pm

The feral (or abandoned hard to tell )are no work. All you have to do is harvest and a quokka says they are plentiful. I am not sure how many I even have , a dozen or more and I don't do any pruning, watering or feeding. At least 24 brix, tested several. Thinking about making some brandy(slivovitz). I should probably graft some other scions to the trees just to see how they do.

Avatar
John S
PDX OR
2817 Posts
(Offline)
11
February 22, 2024 - 9:45 pm

Yes, we have one we refer to as an Italian plum. It was a seedling growing next to the mother tree. A neighbor gave it to us for I think $1.  It grew up and it gives us 300 fruit every year and is very healthy. I do have to prune it.  I have another, which I think is a damson plum, slightly different.  The taste is similar.  They pollinate each other well.  The damson is a bit smaller and a little more blue.  They are both 18 feet tall or so.  Very productive here.

John S
PDX OR

Avatar
Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
426 Posts
(Offline)
12
March 7, 2024 - 9:32 pm

Chris M. says:

..."At least 24 brix, tested several....  

To me, Chris, that sounds like one that would be prime for either prune making, or some serious fermentation experiments.  Maybe even something that, after fermentation, could be distilled for a Plum Brandy!

Reinettes.

Avatar
Chris M
Philomath, OR
147 Posts
(Offline)
13
March 7, 2024 - 9:47 pm

I am hoping to make some slivovitz. I have been reading and watching videos from Croatia about the brandy. I have had some slivovitz from Croatia and Clear creek blue plum, both were great. (and hideously expensive) Plumb wine is also an option. I will see which one tastes better. The kind of grapes that make good cognac, makes really terrible wine. Its probably why they distilled it in the first place.

Avatar
Reinettes
Lewis Co., WA
426 Posts
(Offline)
14
March 7, 2024 - 10:58 pm

Chris,

I didn't know what "slivovitz" was, having not heard of it or read of it before.  However, I've found that my brain has trouble with slavic words.  It just hasn't had the necessary exposure to begin to recognize linguistic morphemes and their meanings in slavic words.  

I know that it will take time, but, keep us posted on any of your efforts at turning those plums into anything other than what you pull off the tree and eat fresh.

Reinettes.

Forum Timezone: America/Los_Angeles
All RSSShow Stats
Administrators:
Idyllwild
Moderators:
jafar
Marsha H
Viron
John S
Top Posters:
Rooney: 778
DanielW: 519
PlumFun: 495
Reinettes: 426
davem: 357
Dubyadee: 237
sweepbjames: 233
gkowen: 218
Larry_G: 187
quokka: 174
Newest Members:
yannick1107
larkiegarden
raryalvi@yahoo.com
lolilenon
Annabvak
kerly
Oliviasmith007
marco7898
miksoal
danielkyler
Forum Stats:
Groups: 1
Forums: 4
Topics: 2903
Posts: 16694

 

Member Stats:
Guest Posters: 0
Members: 1431
Moderators: 4
Admins: 1
Most Users Ever Online: 232
Currently Online:
Guest(s) 13
Currently Browsing this Page:
1 Guest(s)