One evening while sitting in our summer living room on the front lawn (open three months a year), Farmer Bob noticed that one of our ornamental cherry trees had fruit. He plucked one off the branch, brought it over, and although not quite ripe -- we each took a bite. It was a bit tart, but very fruity and plum-like. I could hear Bob's kitchen wheels begin to grind, and knew at some point that dozens of colorful plum jelly jars would be lined up on the counter.
A week or so later, I noticed a murder of crows out on the lawn. At least a dozen of the pesky black birds were hopping around the perimeter of one of the flowering trees. When Bob came home from work, I mentioned it, and within minutes he was up a ladder, picking the plums from the tree. "I'm not going to let those crows beat me!" explained my competitive hubby.
Bob mentioned it had been about five years since that particular tree bore any fruit. I figured it was because he had done a major prune job on the tree, but whatever the explanation, the plums (which look just like cherry tomatoes) were soon spread out on cookie sheets in our kitchen. Bob was hoping they'd ripen up so he could make jelly the following weekend.
I was curious as to what type of tree we were actually dealing with, so on my way to the Saturday Bayview Farmers Market, I stopped in at Bayview Farm & Garden. Owner Maureen Murphy took a look at the branch I brought in, which had about six plums on it, and said it was a Hollywood Plum Tree. Hooray for Hollywood! Hooray for Hollywood Plum Jam!
Photos by Sue Frause