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Hybrid Fruit: Mixing Plums, Apricots, and Their Names
National Geographic ^ | December 3, 2012 | Dan Stone

Posted on 12/04/2012 2:35:21 PM PST by nickcarraway

For a city man like me, there’s no place more bucolic than Clements, California. You’d have to travel east of the small farming town of Lodi, through rolling hills, sprawling farms, and occasional fruit stands to even make it to the town limits.

But once here, you get to see Steve Smit, an organic farmer I met back in college when I’d buy his apples, peaches, and cherries. His farm, Mt. Moriah Farms, grows some of the best pluots on the planet.

What’s a pluot, much of the country might ask? An innovative hybrid of a plum (60 percent) and apricot (40 percent). They started popping up in the 1980s, and then fruit breeding innovation really took off. Now we have apriums (the same hybrid, but dominant apricot), picatums (peach, apricot, plum), mango-peach hybrids, and nectaplums.

Fruit breeding isn’t so new. But what fascinates me is how much science changes the fruits we eat, even the organic-fresh-local-unwashed fruit you get at your farmers market.

“We’ve got a big world to feed, so we do it for lots of reasons,” Smit tells me at his farm. “Better flavor, more shelf time, shipping longer distances.”

I used to work for a peach breeder back when I went to college in this area. We were on the hunt for the perfect peach for canning—a peach that tasted good, ripened on time, had consistent color, was easy to pick, and stayed fresh as long as possible.

Every fruit grower tries to maximize all of those qualities. And when they do, it means better fruit that can travel further distances from the farm. For someone passing through California, it also means some darn good pluots.


TOPICS: Agriculture; Food; Gardening
KEYWORDS:

1 posted on 12/04/2012 2:35:23 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: nickcarraway

Mmmmm, tomacco.

2 posted on 12/04/2012 2:53:55 PM PST by KarlInOhio (Big Bird is a brood parasite: laid in our nest 43 years ago and we are still feeding him.)
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To: KarlInOhio

and they are doing it with Aplomb!


3 posted on 12/04/2012 2:54:57 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: KarlInOhio

Some school in Oregon actually bred tomacco. They are both solanaceae.


4 posted on 12/04/2012 2:56:48 PM PST by nickcarraway
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To: GeronL

>>and they are doing it with Aplomb!>>
LOL! Thanks for the laugh.


5 posted on 12/04/2012 3:37:35 PM PST by kitkat
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To: nickcarraway

I’ve had pluots. My kids call them “dinosaur eggs”.

They are really quite good.


6 posted on 12/04/2012 3:38:35 PM PST by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: nickcarraway

7 posted on 12/04/2012 3:41:15 PM PST by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: kitkat

You are very welcome


8 posted on 12/04/2012 3:44:35 PM PST by GeronL (http://asspos.blogspot.com)
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To: nickcarraway

Pluots... delicious. Esp the darker variety.
Wish I had one right now.


9 posted on 12/04/2012 3:50:25 PM PST by Vinnie (A)
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