sant rosa plum tree

The Plum Tree

As previously mentioned, I’ve been stalking my grandpa’s Santa Rosa Plum tree for a few years. Its’ branches are full of blossoms right now, but there won’t be any fruit for a couple months. I think its’ real time to shine is the last week of June, first week of July-ish. During those two weeks, everything I bake is full of these spicy, juicy gems… from cobblers to coffee cake. Last year he gave me just about every piece of fruit off of it, so naturally I thought that this year those little suckers were mine. Uh, think again.

My grandpa Phil is an 84 year old man that lived through the depression, fought in World War II, and has never taken a thing in his life for granted. If there is half of a buttered, syrup drenched pancake left on my grandma’s plate at breakfast, grandpa will no doubt wrap it up, only to reheat it later for a snack. As children, my sisters and I knew that if we put something on our plate at grandma and grandpa’s house, we’d better eat it. This made for a lot of trips to the bathroom with napkins full of food in our pockets. But that’s beside the point. That said, you can imagine what old grandpa might be doing with these rare (not really, but he’s only got one tree), fabulous little plums: He was going to can them. Every last one of them. Brutal.

Canning is something that I can appreciate for jams, jellys, and tomato sauces, or as a method of preservation that you might do out of necessity, but grandpa, I beg you, just let me make one batch of plum and almond galettes with spiced honey. I promise you won’t regret it.

My grandparents have lived in the same house for 65 years. On their property they have the coveted Santa Rosa Plum tree, 2 Valencia orange trees, a Fuerte avocado tree, an apricot tree, meyer lemons, and macadamia nuts. About a month ago, when I noticed the blossoms on his plum tree, I mentioned them to Grandpa and this is when he broke the news to me that I wouldn’t be enjoying any of those plums this year. After this he told me that he had three blossoms on his apricot tree and that it didn’t produce much fruit last year. In fact, he said, it hadn’t produced much fruit at all since the first and only year it grew fruit. It was pretty much useless.
That same day grandpa was on the phone ordering some new clothes for grandma and when the lady on the other end told my grandpa that shipping and handling would be $9.99, Grandpa was appalled.

Gpa: “Oh dear, Isn’t there anything you can do to reduce that?”
Lady: “I’m afraid not, sir.”
Gpa:[looking out the window at the useless apricot tree] “Well, in that case , let me tell you about my apricot tree. It only has three blossoms on it. Last year, it had more blossoms, but still no fruit. The first year we planted it….”
Lady: “Sir! Sir! Oh it says here that you are a valued customer and you are to receive free shipping on this order. I don’t know how I could’ve overlooked that… “

Right. Looks like the old apricot tree isn’t so useless after all.

Ever since ye olde plum tree began blossoming, my trips to Grandpa’s have become more and more frequent. Just droppin’ in Grandpa…
A couple of weeks ago, Grandpa gave in and decided I could have ALL, yes ALL of the plums. Phew! For a minute there I actually thought I was going to have to rob my own grandparents of there fruit. Thanks for making it easy on me, Grandpa.

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