AFRUITFUL opening decade in business is being celebrated by Pomona, the experts who put the flavour and tastebud torment into all things fruity.
In launching their 68-page autumn 2019 catalogue, Pomona Fruits hail the arrival of several tempting new varieties, including a strawberry, raspberry, fig, blueberry, walnut and a pluot.
A what? Well, like a labradoodle in the doggy world or a heucherella in the plant world, pluot is a hybrid that’s genetically 75% plum and 25% apricot . . . as opposed to an aprium that’s threequarters apricot and a quarter plum. That’s no joke – it’s in the catalogue too.
Pomona principal directors Claire Higgins and Ming Yang, who boast a combined 50-plus years of expertise in fruitfulness, endeavour to bring us a few surprises each year and, at the same time, continue to market those tried, trusted and long-established names that never fade into obscurity.
So let us start with that pluot which is named Flavor Candy and delivers heavy crops of red-flushed fruits with yellow flesh. Fruits are as big as a peach and combine the juiciness of a plum with the fragrant taste of an apricot. Season: Early September.
Strawberry Malling Allure: Matching the high quality of Malling Centenary but 14 days later to produce. The orange-red fruits are juicy and sweet, plants are heavy yielding and have good resistance to powdery mildew. Late June-late July.
Raspberry Malling Juno: Early to ripe and heavy to crop, berries are medium size with firm texture and sweet to taste. Spine-free canes and resistant to cane diseases. Late June-mid-July.
Fig Chelsea: Found growing on the banks of the Thames close to Chelsea Bridge – yes, honestly! – this variety is a cropper supreme and shows great hardiness to chilly weather. Fruits are pale brown when fully ripe and have an excellent flavour without being sickly-sweet. Compact, so suitable for small spaces. August-September.
Blueberry Hortblue Petite: The world’s first double-cropping blueberry, producing a crop in July followed by a further delivery in September. The dark blue berries are small but taste superb. Shrub reaches 3ft maximum and will do well in patio containers.
Walnut Europa: The naturally dwarf variety crops generously and fruits just 2-3 years after planting. Nuts are large and the kernel sheds its skin easily when the nut is opened. Delicious creamy flavour with no bitter after-taste.
There are also two new asparagus contenders which many will consider as veg rather than fruit and it’s worth noting what Claire and Ming say about it: “In our opinion there is no other vegetable that beats home-grown asparagus, simply steamed and served with melted butter or Hollandaise sauce.”
Aiming to emulate such praise is Guelph Eclipse, bred by the University of Guelph in Canada, thriving in cooler conditions and producing heavy crops of thick, succulent, green spears. Early-mid season. Alongside this one is Vittorio, with medium-thick green spears, superbly textured and can be grown as white asparagus if the plants are covered with a mound of sandy soil and harvested before they push through the ground. Early season.
Pomona offer a supreme range of apples – nine pages, in fact – plus two pages of crab apples, or malus, which are perfect for jam or jelly making. And lots more fruit to suit all tongues – gooseberries, blackberries, currants of various colours, grapes, pears, cherries, gages, damsons, plums, peaches, apricots, mulberries, quinces . . . the list just goes on and on.
◙ Make the most of Pomona’s 10% discount on selected items if ordered before 30th November.
◙ Fabulous fruits: From top – the pluot Flavor Candy, fig Chelsea, blueberry Hortblue Petite, walnut Europa and Pomona’s latest catalogue.