Stone fruit hybrids can be tricky, and you’re not alone if you’ve ever thought to yourself: what’s the difference between a Pluot, a Plumcot, and an Aprium?
Here’s a quick rundown to help you out.
Plumcot: A 50-50 cross between a plum and an apricot, these will usually have smooth skin, the juicy quality of a plum, but the firmer texture of an apricot. The name “plumcot” comes from Luther Burbank, who, in the late 1800’s, was the first to successfully cross them. Most hybrids between plums and apricots were called plumcots at this time, but it got more complicated when the techniques to make the varieties became more advanced, and a hybrid might be more plum than apricot, or vice versa.
Aprium: More apricot than plum, apriums have skin that is a little fuzzy, with a firmer texture than a plum. They will be less tart than a plum, thanks to the apricot’s genes. It was developed by Floyd Zaiger, who has been called “the most prolific stone fruit breeder in the modern era.” His company, Zaiger Genetics, patented 446 plant varieties; all hand pollinated.
Pluot: More plum than apricot, pluots tend to have smooth skin and juicy sweet flesh; it will be slightly crisper than a plum. They were also developed by Floyd Zaiger’s company in Modesto, California.
For a more in-depth look at stone fruit hybrids and their history, you can read this great blog from Cuesa.org.
How to Merchandise with Limited Space
With so many wonderful seasonal summer offerings, it can be challenging to decide what products to bring in if you have a small department or limited space to work with. Don’t let space limit your offerings! You can build an eye-catching display with many varieties and products in a small space. Here are some great tips and suggestions for small stores to make a big impact!
- Use Baskets & Bowls: Utilize small, attractive baskets in tight spaces to separate similar looking products like red and black plums, and pluots. This can help avoid confusion and let you bring in all the varieties your customers are looking for. It’s worth investing in a few nice bowls and baskets, as they can be used throughout the year and add a nice touch to displays. They are also great for delicate or riper fruit, like figs, that don’t want to be handled.
- Show Variety: Create a focal-point harvest display that offers a medley of items. Bringing together small amounts of everything from stone fruit, tomatoes, berries, and corn captures the feel of summer all in one display. Eye-catching displays excite customers and encourage larger purchases.
- Fiber Pint Baskets: A growing trend in produce is the use of fiber pint baskets for berries, stone fruit, specialty peppers, and cherry tomatoes. This reduces customer handling by encouraging customers to buy the whole basket, and also beefs up displays by making an area look fully stocked when you are actually putting out less product.
- Signage: As always, make sure to offer clear signage on all displays and product varieties. Variety names can be written directly on the handle of paper totes if you don’t have room for a separate sign.
Warm weather citrus: Oranges protect themselves from sunburn by producing chlorophyll in their skin. Chlorophyll is vital for photosynthesis which allows fruit to absorb energy from sunlight. Colder nighttime temperatures cause citrus to turn a deep orange color, but when weather is warm, citrus tends to re-green. The green color has no impact on flavor; green oranges are sold and used all over the world, particularly in hot climates. In fact, some growers believe that mature citrus with re-greening can have more sugar than deep orange fruit. So if you see ‘mottled’ late-season Valencia oranges, no fear! Let us know if they taste sweeter to you!!
Pineapple: Hurricane season has started early this year, and pineapple availability from Southern Mexico has been impacted by heavy rains.
Apricot: Late Spring snow and extended frost up in the Northwest resulted in a short crop of apricots this season. Supply is tight.
Sweet Corn: recent cool weather slowed production, supply is temporarily limited.
New and Exciting
*Blueberry (left): Blueberries are back on the shelves, and we couldn’t be more excited!
Cherry: Cherries have been tough and very limited this season, but we have several red varieties and sizes now, and they’re all delicious! The Rainier cherry is pale yellow with a rosy blush and is super sweet.
Floral: Dahlia bouquets have arrived! Ask your account manager to sign you up for our floral emails if you’re not already signed up.
German Butterball Potato: With vibrant yellow flesh and a rich, buttery flavor, this is the gold standard for gold potatoes.
Gold Kiwi: These kiwis have bronze, smooth, hairless skin, and golden flesh that contains edible, black seeds. Tastes sweet and tropical with notes of pineapple and mango.
Melon: Green and Orange honeydew are here, and they’re both sweet and fragrant. As honeydew melons ripen, their fragrance becomes stronger, and the fruit becomes sweeter. Galia melons are coming in from Rundle Family Farm this week. The rind’s color will deepen from pale green to a golden yellow-orange hue when ripe.
*Mini Seedless Watermelon (right): These minis are packed with flavor and are fantastically juicy. When we tried one in the office, it quickly disappeared. Just goes to show, good things come in small packages! Plus, they’re at promotable prices!
Pear: The sweet and juicy California-grown Bartlett will come in by mid-July, and the Asian pear will come in by the end of July.
Apple: Strong supply of Fuji and Granny Smith apples, with sharp pricing! Honeycrisp prices are competitive, but supply won’t last long.
Butternut Squash: California-grown Butternut squash is coming on strong.
Cantaloupe: Wonderfully fragrant, our cantaloupes have a sweet flavor and a crisp texture. They’re also at promotable pricing!
Cucumber: Supply of slicers is picking up and prices are coming down. Hot house cucumber availability is also starting to increase. Lots of lemon cucumbers, Persians, and Painted Serpents, aka Striped Armenian.
*Grape (left): We have finished Mexican-grown grapes for the season, and domestic production is shifting from the southern California desert to the Central Valley, about a week ahead of ‘normal’ years. Great supply on all colors of seedless.
Red Plum: With dark skin and pale yellow flesh, red plums have a wonderful balance of sweet and tart.
*Strawberry (right): Super sweet, with a beautiful color, and an even better price!
Stone Fruit: July is peak season for peaches and nectarines!
Tommy Atkins Mango: Strong supply of this delicious tropical fruit, and the promotable pricing will make them taste even sweeter!
Corn: Cooler weather slowed down production of corn.
Pineapple: Price increased due to limited availability
Pluot: Prices came down a little, but supply is still limited
Purple Stokes Sweet Potato: Winding down this month