Monday, 9 February 2015

Meet Luscious Luisa she's just plum

It's raining plums at our place.

Large ripe fruits from our avenue of plum trees are throwing themselves to the floor and there is a sweet aroma in the air as many of the bounty burst open when they hit the ground and expose their juicy yellow flesh.

The plum trees in our orchard are a variety called Luisa. They produce what has to be the juiciest, sweetest, largest plum you've ever eaten. 

Personally I would say that the taste and texture of them, but not the shape, is very similar to that of a nectarine.

Apparently the variety was discovered and developed right here in the Waikato. Score!

The trees easily seem to produce bumper crops of this exceptional  long and heart-shaped plum with a yellow skin that is just touched with a blush of red. The plums firm flesh is also yellow and is just divinely sweet and juicy - you cannot help get juice dripping down your chin with this baby!

Kiwi Good Life - Vicki Annison
Pip in our orchard during the Spring
We discovered Luisa plums this time last year when we experienced our first crop - the breed has a specific two week period every year when the fruit decides it IS ready now, and will wait no longer on the tree to be picked thank you very much.

With the bedroom window open I lay in bed on a sunny Sunday morning and listened to the soft thump of each plum as it decided it was time to take the plunge from the safety of the shady branches and plummet to the ground below.

Kiwi Good Life - Vicki Annison
It must be February - the plums are beginning to fall

By lunchtime we had a carpet-lined orchard ranging from pale yellow to blushed cherry red.

And there's no keeping up with these things - we salvage the best, and those not tasted by birds, from the orchard floor, we pick up undamaged not yet ripe fruit to store until ripened, and we rake and sweep up the rest... repeatedly.

Raking over the whole area and then turning around to see another spread of freshly dropped fruit is quite disheartening - it's like Tim Allen in Santa Claus the movie when he shaves a freshly grown bushy Santa beard, wipes his chin, looks in the mirror - and it's back!

Then there's the deliberation of what do you do with several hundred kgs of plums!

Last year we tried a bit of everything: plum jam, plum sauce, plum liqueur, plum wine, plum crumble, plum pie, plums in salad, plums in casseroles... you get the point.

One of the best decisions was to let a wine-maker take a large amount of the plums to try and see what he could do with them. The answer turned out to be a very nice, sweet almost sherry-like wine which we understand was one of his best sellers at the farmers markets he attends. We of course got a good number of bottles of wine back for ourselves - good deal!

Kiwi Good Life - Vicki Annison
Real wine! Made from our plums!

Kiwi Good Life - Vicki Annison
Meer Cat helping me pick plums

The wine guy has been today and filled his van. It limped off down the street, completely laden after they'd spent hours picking plums. So later this year we'll get to try the 2015 batch of Luisa plum wine. If you're in the Waikato / Bay of Plenty area - look out for our wine man selling it at your local farmers market - I recommend you try it, I can tell you it came from somewhere awesomely sweet :)


  1. Sounds like our first harvest of feijoa's. I made chutney, crumble, muffins, spice cake and even turned our own hand to wine making, but it became abundantly clear, we don't like feijoa! Now we have plums, plums everywhere from a single tree, I think we might do better with these as we all love plums.

    1. Oooh I LOVE feijoas!! We have a feijoa tree and I'm looking forward to the fruit this autumn - it will go well with some of the rhubarb I've got in a crumble ;-)

  2. Vicki,
    I love your plum harvest... fabulous! I miss feijoas SOOOOOOO much, you just can not get them here in Europe and if we visit NZ in summer they are not in season. It's been 20 years since I have had a feijoa... it's truly one of the tastes of my childhood. Enjoy them when the time comes and I will drool from afar.
    Back to the plums, I've just bought a dehydrator and will try to experiment with them next season (it's winter here at the moment), when I lived in NZ I bottled a ton of plums, nectarines and peaches, great for winter desserts and fruit salads. Freezing them and making jam is also an option, the jam could go onto your roadside stall? (recycle any jar with a metal lid) and water bath them.
    Otherwise the wine looks like a definite win-win situation!




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