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Summer plum lineup - Pineapple flavored "Howard's miracle"

Summer plum lineup - Pineapple flavored "Howard's miracle"

Howard's miracle is indeed a miracle, what an amazing plum, so delicious, nothing to fault about this plum, so sweet, fragrant, and complex, yummmmm!

So far, my plum lineup looks something like this:

Top favorite: howard's miracle
next best: "catalina", a variety of Japanese plum
3rd place: Transparent green gauge
Last but still excellent: Santa Rosa

Worst plum so far: japanese green gauge, the fake green gauge that has somehow inflitrated the backyard circuit here in the Bay area: skin is too sour, flesh is sweet but not very complex. I grafted over this plum this year.

Looks like Howard's Miracle came from Montebello, in Southern California. It has hints of pineapple and orange, and is low chill, so it counts as a subtropical plum, but it blooms late, which is good because it avoids the rain.

The following thread was started by Axel on July 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm PST

More on plums

There is a nice writeup about plums in Southern California by David Karp, see

The above followup was added by Axel on July 27, 2009 at 3:07 pm PST.

Old plum varieties

Good article Axel,

This past weekend I took a ride to a nursery run by an old guy who's pulling up sticks (literally) and is about to plough the fruit trees he has grown for the nursery trade for the past 3 decades.

I initially went there for apple rootstock and he kindly gave me about 100 Northern Spy and 50 M106 rootstocks. I couldn't resist though and picked up ten grafted trees at the same time. For a mere $7 each I got the following plums (with 2" trunks, about 5 ' high)

Duffs Early Jewel, Victoria, Billington, Coes Golden Drop, and Satsuma.

I also picked up a Dougherty and Reinette du Canada apple, plus a Blackboy and a Wiggins Peach.

These are now old varieties here that have been replaced with 'modern' varieties.

With the plums in particular, I now have Damson, Black Doris, Elephant Heart and Sultan to give a complete range of old plums.

Just looking for the Stanley or Italian prune to wrap the whole thing up.
Why would anyone go for a boring modern plum?
No offence, but it even worse when we get Californian plums sent over in winter that weren't good to start with, let along with a months shipping!

Now to find sloes for cooking/preserving.

The above followup was added by Nigel(NZ) on July 27, 2009 at 3:27 pm PST.

Forgot to describe the flavors

Nigel, it appears you cought the same bug I did.

You need to look for the following apple varieties, Australian and New Zealand favorites: Kidd's Orange red, Lady Williams and Sundowner. The latter two are true subtropical apples in that they need a very long growing season to ripen properly. For you, that means ripening in July, almost August, for us, Sundowner is a late January, early Feb variety.

Reinette du Canada is supposed to be excellent, not sure why this one isn't grown anymore, it's a large russet apple of excellent quality if i am to believe the reports.

Now to the plums I forgot to describe. Santa Rosa has more of a berry flavor, Catalina has a nice almond flavor that I've not tasted in any other plums, and Howard's miracle really does taste like pineapple, but without the acidity, at least in my garden it doesn't have much acidity. I don't taste the advertised orange flavor, but perhaps it does have some mandarin overtones.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 27, 2009 at 5:58 pm PST.

Yes! Howard's Miracle @ the top!

I agree with you Axel, "Howard's Miracle" is a excellent plum some of my other favorite's we have" Sierra" plum excellent spicy flavor,"Catalina","Elephant Heart","Inca" with sweet spicy flavor,"Padre" nice sweet jewel, and for very early can't beat" Sorriso de Primavera" and can't forget "Green Gage" has excellent red blush and super sweet this year!

The above followup was added by Scotty in A.G. on July 27, 2009 at 7:33 pm PST.

Plums and apples

Hi Axel,

I recognise some of the varieties you list. Kidds orange and Lady Williams I know, but not Sundowner - could be Aussie.

With my apples I have an interest in the health properties of heritage apples versus the new dessert apples (which should be called desert apples, as they lask nutrition).

I am a member of the local Tree Crop association (bit like CRFG). They have done sterling work on investigations into cancer prevention with apples. Check out this link.

I have Monty's Surprise and are grafting up Fairbelle now. In some cases these apples have strong flavours and are harder to eat out of hand, hence my interest in cider that makes the phytochemicals available in a healthy (slightly alcoholic) tonic.

In addition to the plums, I also managed to pick up a 'Stanley' prune yesterday. These are so high in sugars that they are easy to dry.

Another NZ site looks at the opportunity to develop a prune industry here. It has potential, especially as dried fruit can last and not be limited to seasonal markets.

I am, however, just an enthusiastic amateur who wants the best out of my fruit.

The above followup was added by Nigel(NZ) on July 28, 2009 at 2:04 pm PST.

Apples and Cancer

I had read many reports on the health benefits of apples. I wonder if I could get my 450 varieties of apples tested. I've not heard of most of the apples on the list. here in the US, I have access to over 3,000 different varieties, plus at least a thousand new selections coming from the fruit forests of Kazakhstan. I am trying one of those right now, we'll see how it tastes.

I wish our CRFG was as resourceful as your fruit growing association.

The above followup was added by Axel on July 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm PST.

Howard's Miracle

obviously does not meet corporate commercial durability requirements. Hence it is not found in the large supermarkets. I planted one in Campbell about 40 years ago.. Going to have to check Google earth to see if it's still there. : )

The above followup was added by gino45 on July 28, 2009 at 5:01 pm PST.

Elephant Heart, when to pick fruit ?

Elephant Heart, when to pick fruit ? Do they stay speckled or do they turn fully purple?

I put grafts on a couple seasons ago, and have one fruit this year.

And the pluot long life on the tree, no wonder they hang on so long. Flavor Queen super taste, but the

Dapple Dandy, yuck, no flavor when it should be ripe, and when it is over ripen in texture, the flavor is barely ok. I cut it off my multi grafted tree.


The above followup was added by David Johnson, Waterford CA, zone 14 on July 29, 2009 at 2:35 am PST.

David, elephant heart

"When they are soft" and yes they are a dark colour when ripe
Enjoy them because they are a very good plum

The above followup was added by Jason on July 29, 2009 at 7:07 am PST.

Elephant heart starting to soften.

Elephant heart starting to soften. has the color and design now of Dapple Dandy, so assume from you said, I need to wait a little longer.

Do they need to be dark like a Santa Rosa or something?


The above followup was added by David Johnson, Waterford CA, zone 14 on July 29, 2009 at 10:35 pm PST.


They are the same as pretty much everything, they will fall off the tree when ready. Or at least be easy to pull off, they are a dark plum no doubt about that

The above followup was added by Jason on July 30, 2009 at 12:40 am PST.

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