I can still vividly recall the pitiful little plum tree on the cramped sideyard of my childhood home.
As the house tomboy I made it my personal duty to climb, on a regular basis, each and every tree on our property, particularly if it was fruit-bearing. Two of our grandest trees were a pair of sizable mulberries that I built small perches into for summer reading. And because the fruit of those trees were sweet and plentiful they were my obvious favorite though we also had navel oranges, kumquats, satsumas, figs, lemons and of course, that sad, sad little plum.
In addition to its dark presence the plum tree was also gnarled and knobby in a tree acne sort of way. I’m able to still recall these details because I had never actually seen a plum growing on its own tree, and as a result became overly enamored with it, often climbing it’s scratchy little branches only to be torn to shreds every time I slipped or fell from it. Then to make matters worse, the poor thing made cute little blossoms every year, only to never bear a single fruit. A tragic lesson in patience, anticipation and the ultimate let-down for my already angst-ridden tween self.
That entire side of the house has long since been remodeled and plowed over. Turns out papaya trees are much more willing participants in the semi-tropical heat of South Louisiana.
Then about a year ago, my sous chef brought in a bag of these.
He said they were all over the ground outside his Sausalito apartment and wondered what they were and what we could do with them. At first I thought he was out of his mind (a common occurrence) not realizing at the time I was about to taste my first wild plum.
WOW. They were like tiny plum flavored sugar cubes.
A few days later while jogging (or what I like to refer to as “hop-walking” since I am the slowest runner in the universe) in the Twin Peaks area I came across my first wild plum trees.
And just like that my inner tween was requited by all of that wild, wonderful fruit.
Fortunately for me I’ve also been able to share with my own tween, Max, a love and excitement for found fruit and the joy of just being able to pick something from a tree along a trail, on a roadside or in a neighbors yard while running along what we now refer to as the Wild Plum Trail.
Stayed tuned to find out what I’ve been doing with all of those crazy good plums, well, besides just stuffing them into my face.