WORDS BY KRISTEE SEMMLER
THE BAROSSA NURSERY
Gardening Advice with Kristee Semmler
There’s nothing quite like the smell of a fresh, perfectly ripe peach in summer, or its sweet juicy flavour. Summertime provides such a rich bounty of different fruits which makes it one of my favourite seasons. If you have never experienced a fully ripe, homegrown peach or nectarine you really haven’t lived!
Store bought fruit has absolutely no comparison to the sweetness, juiciness and flavour to that of homegrown deliciousness.
If you have been thinking about putting in a fruit tree at home so you can enjoy your own sweet fruit, but are unsure of which varieties to choose, I’ve complied a list of my all time favourite Summer (and some Autumn) fruit tree varieties.
Starting with my favourite fruit- apples…
My favourite Apple(s)… as my favourite fruit I can’t just have one favourite variety so I’ll sneak in my top two.
1.Firstly, Pink Lady Apple; for me an apple needs to be crisp and juicy and this certainly fits the bill! A great pink to reddish pink eating apple that keeps well and tastes oh so sweet.
2. Secondly, and some people may disagree with me, but I just love Granny Smith apples. Please don’t compare store bought to homegrown here! Store bought can be really quite sour, but a homegrown Granny Smith has beautifully sweet and juicy crisp flesh which becomes even sweeter and juicier if left to ripen on the tree after leaf fall (store bought grannies are picked before they are properly ripe in my opinion). These green skinned apples are great to eat fresh and are the best cooking or stewing apple.
My favourite Peach…. Elberta peach is probably one of the most popular peaches for good reason. When picked ripe is has the sweetest, juiciest, melt in your mouth peachy flavour. Delicious as fresh fruit, this variety is also great for drying and stewing. I know I mentioned it earlier, but the smell of a perfectly ripe peach really is one of Summers treats, don’t forget to sniff a ripe peach this Summer!
My favourite Apricot… Moorpark – another popular variety, Moorpark apricot has an excellent juicy and strong apricot flavour – it really is the best. It is delicious when picked ripe from the tree, but is also excellent for jams, drying, stewing and cooking. Stewed Moorpark apricots are a favourite for my little boy, he just loves them.
My favourite Cherry… Starkrimson Cherry is exceptionally productive and produces a large amount of fruit without the need for a pollinator. These large heart-shaped crimson fruit generally ripen just before Christmas making them the perfect guilt free treat to take to Christmas parties. This sweet Cherry is used for fresh fruit, jams and preserving.
My favourite Plum… definitely Satsuma plum. We have an old tree on our property that fruits every year, and I just love eating them fresh from the tree. If I didn’t love apples so much this plum would be my favourite! The flesh of this plum is a deep ruby red and it is firm, yet sweet and juicy. Great eaten fresh. Also great in jams, stewing, or one of my favourites, plum cake. Yum!
My favourite Nectarine…. Goldmine. Nectarines are another fruit that really should be picked and eaten fresh and when fully ripe. I always get disappointed when I buy nectarines from the shop thinking ‘they smell pretty good, surely this time they will taste good…’ but they always seem to be hard and lacking flavour. Left to ripen on the tree they are so fragrant and sweet and juicy (no hardness to be found). Another example where there really is no comparison between store bought and home grown.
My favourite Pear… Williams pear. This is one fruit where it should be picked while still firm on the tree, it’s flavour develops more when picked and left (or refrigerated) for a few days or weeks. Beautiful white, juicy flesh. I love eating this one fresh, but it is also great for drying, preserving, stewing or in juices.
Last but not least
My favourite grapes…. for a white variety I love Centennial seedless and Emerald seedless. For a red variety you can’t beat Flame seedless. Once again store bought grapes have nothing on their homegrown counterparts. They may look big and juicy in the supermarket but they just have very little flavour. And juiciness! Try homegrown and freshly picked and you’ll soon know the meaning of juicy! I love fresh grapes cold from the fridge as a great summer snack, Or even better, alongside some local cheeses on a cheese platter with a glass of wine in hand.
Homegrown fruit… Seriously it’s the best! As an added benefit, you know what goes on it chemical-wise and it’s not cold stored for weeks or months or exported thousands of miles before it gets to you. For very little effort growing your own fruit trees can give you a feast of fresh, juicy flavour! If you don’t have a big yard, don’t worry, Barossa Nursery have lots of dwarf fruit trees too that can be grown in pots so no one misses out on this Summer fruity love. Happy gardening.