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Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Posted by beluga01 (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 18, 09 at 13:25

I'd like to start a thread about exotic berries and fruit that people might be growing in our area. As you can see, i recently started a thread on seaberries. I thought it might be better to start a new thread rather than expand that one. Things that interest me include edible honeysuckle, silverberry, jujubes, service berries, sorbus, maybe even cultivated varieties of our native salmon and thimble berries.

One piece of information i can't get straight from any mail order nursery, is which of these exotics is REALLY sweet enough to eat out of hand. They way they tell it, i get the idea that you CAN eat out of hand, but no one would ever do that, whose taste buds are normal.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Well, a few that work good up here, include, Medlar, Goumi, Autumn Olive, Fig, Ribes, and Many types of Kiwi.
I would not bother with Melons though---- take too much heat.
I really like Figs, but only the early ripening 'Breba Crop' types do well here.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

what do you do with medlar and goumi and autumn olive? i mean can you eat them off the tree, or is for jam and syrups? I don't think I';ve ever tasted any of these three. Or even seen them in a market.

I grow charantais melons from seed in my greenhouse, but this may be the last year I do that since they take up too much space and I don't taste much of a difference from the very good ones we can buy at our local market, in season. We have two fig trees, Desert King, and Negronne. They are spectacular in production and in flavor.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Shipova -- a fruit long common in the former Yugoslavia, resulting from a cross between Mountain Ash + Pear. (varieties \unknown). Delicious, and rose-scented.

Rain2Fall


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

One fruit that has not been mentioned is the Feijoa, or "pineapple guava". They are definitely edible out-of-hand, and can get quite sweet. I have had upwards of 40 pounds from one shrub and have seen other local plants with 10s of pounds, but that seems exceptional after reading many other forum postings. There are some named varieties, but seedlings can be successful. The fruits in the photo are about 2.5 ounces, seeds are insignificant.

Serviceberries can be OK, but similar to salal fruit; the Shipova ash (sorbus) I have not tried; salmonberries are highly variable--very few are really sweet, just pleasant. Thimbleberries are very sweet and flavorful but bear a very light crop and it would take way too much space and plants for the average homeowner to get a pint let alone a quart of berries, plus the plant spreads and makes large colonies.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 19, 09 at 1:04

Serviceberries vary, some are said to be like blueberries. I'd have to ask the birds that come and strip them to find out what they taste like.

Or cover the trees with netting. People in milder urban areas near salt water should definitely try Aristotelia chilensis, Luma apiculata and Ugni molinae.

Acca (Feijoa) grows in multiple Seattle locations but I never see fruit. However, the flower petals are sweet and edible.

'Shipova' got taken out after growing for years without fruiting, a sort of gawky pear tree with grayish leaves.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

I'm growing kiwano or horned cucumbers in my greenhouse this summer. It's a vine with leaves like a melon. My two plants have born many fruit, but only one out of about 50 fruit has actually grown to edible size, which is about the size of a plum. All the rest have turned yellow and dropped at about the size of a raspberry. I won't grow them again. I will report its flavor here in about two weeks when my one fruit starts to turn color.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sat, Sep 19, 09 at 21:42

A friend grows various melons north of Seattle using frames.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Many forum participants report poorly or non-fruiting feijoa. I don't know what luck is required. But bboy, you do see significant blooming in the Seattle area? Most literature mentions having two varieties for better results, but this is hard to do using commonly available seedlings.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 20, 09 at 13:09

Flowering is usual, but may be light or scattered. Once bought some liners labeled 'Coolidge' at a local plant lot with a bargain basement style format, looking at their structure probably these were seedlings. Don't know how they ended up, cannot point to one now. All other stock encountered here has been labeled as the species, even when presented by vendors that offer multiple cultivars of other types of fruits - apparently there is some barrier to vegetative propagation that prevents pineapple guava cultivars from being offered commercially with any frequency.

Source books like Facciola, Cornucopia II (1998, Kampong Publications, Vista) do describe Acca named forms that were still on offer somewhere at the time.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Well, if you want to go to the trouble of a greenhouse you might do oK with Melons, but I thought you were talking about things that do well outdoors.
The Goumi is a shrub that produces a berry about like Gooseberry in size. Very tasty and a Nitrogen fixing shrub. Medlar is a bit like Dead ripe Apple flavor. It is pretty good though seedy. The tree is beautiful and does not get too big.
The Black Currants love our cool maritime climate and will tolerate a bit of shade even. Not for dry sandy soils though cause they are shallow rooted like Rhododendrons.
They are smaller manageable shrubs and the fruit is very high in Vitamin C.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Sun, Sep 20, 09 at 20:31

He starts the melons (and various other plants) off each year under cover, then rolls it up when the weather turns hot - he is using raised beds covered part of the time by frames, not greenhouses. To be sure, definitely a hobby style pursuit rather than planting shrubs or perennials around the yard that do not receive more attention than landscape plants but produce edible leaves or fruits.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Across the border we might be envied. Lushcious strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries are still producing.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

I have seen one other variety of feijoa fruit besides mine in Portland that fruited heavily. And I have seen several plants that make tiny fruit and then the whole plant is gone on next year's walk-by. One Green World offers seedlings and the variety "Nikita".

Feijoa are grown commercially as close as California and can be found in the Portland/Vancouver area in QFC stores in autumn.

Had a goumi for several years, it fruited reasonably. The berry's long axis may approach gooseberry size, but the goumi fruit probably has less than half the volume of a gooseberry. Goumis are tasty but are another chew and spit fruit as the internal single seed is quite large. I recommend netting for this plant wherever there are robins.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Aronia Viking- 2 large bushes now really loaded with fruit, easy to harvest, fills up my freezer with as much or more than we can eat in the next year. Excellent cooked and strained.

Blueberries- excellent fresh, few make it into the freezer, I award them title King of the Berries.

Raspberries- Latham, Chilliwick, excellent flavor. Have had some disease hit mine that wiped out most, Latham totally unscathed, as well as one variety I lost the name on that is starting to ripen a fall crop now. Willamette had excellent flavor but is susceptible to the disease.

Favorite figs- Latterula and Desert King which I find very close. Stella and Brown Turkey froze to the ground and haven't yet recovered. Negronne only ripens fruit that overwinters from the previous year, and this year split in half, a huge mess.

Illinois Everbearing Mulberry- kept ripening 10-20 fruits a day for most of the summer, excellent fresh. Weeping Mulberry- very early, small but good-flavored fruit hidden from birds. Black Beauty Black Mulberry- very acidic fruit, not very productive, hard to find among the leaves and twisted branches. Noir de Spain- didn't make it through the winter. Oscar- bad fungal problem on trunk, no fruit for several years, about to be shovel-pruned. Lavender- OK rather insipid small fruit, tree showing some bad symptoms on trunk this year.

Black Currants- have lately had fly maggots :-( Excellent flavor cooked.

Goumi's- really loaded this year, plenty for the birds too.
Somewhat astringent like a persimmon. OK fresh. I tried cooking some and making gelatin this year, very mild and hard to get the pulp through the food mill because of all the big seeds. Not that great to eat, hard to process.

Serviceberries- Regular one developed bad rust that made the berries inedible. Smokey was very small, not very productive, eventually disappeared. Not worth growing in my opinion in comparison with Aronia, blueberries.

Wild Blackcap Raspberries- can get very tall, thorny, berries are best picked while still a little red.

Hardy kiwis- Jumbo really loaded, ripens so late it's hard to harvest them before frost, nice taste but seem to be disagree with me. Don't know what to do with them, maybe I can try cooking some this year.

Thimbleberries- very perishable, great taste fresh, low yields

Salal and Oregon Holly Grape- Excellent berries for cooking, healthy antioxidants

Shipova- sat there and didn't grow, shovel pruned

Moutain Ash- I tasted a few and while tart were not bad, I might try them again or cook with them.

Rugosa rose hips- pulp can be gingerly eaten off the seeds, taste is OK, I should try drying some for tea.

Sea Berries- seedlings have not worked for me, I don't want to spend more money on them.

Loquat- never any signs of flowers or fruit, leaves can be used for tea

Seedling American Persimmons- very slow growth, one is finally over my head, maybe they will have to get very big to fruit? 2 Grafted persimmons- refused to leaf out their first year, dead, sprouting from the base, I assume D. virginianum.

Seedling paw paws- Both flower, only one fruits, excellent tropical tasting fruit. Small grafted one to try pollination and fruit eventually.

Akebia vines- exotic lavender inflated rinds with a small strip of seed-filled gelatinous fruit inside, mild tropical taste. Only yielded well one year so far.

Red currants- really loaded this year but a pain to pick in small clusters with berries ripening sequentially, flavor is not that good, not worth harvesting compared with Aronia, though I may try making currant wine this year.

I've seen some Arbutus unedo ripen fruit planted in a parking lot strip, mine planted in my yard froze out 2 out of 3 plants and the lone plant never fruited. I like the weird fruit with little stony stuff but not everyone would.

2 Jujubes set fruit which stayed small and green, no chance of ripening.

Some Kousa and Cornus Mas dogwoods have edible fruit, may need a pollinator? Nothing to write home about.

So I will stick to my Aronia instead of most of these.

I'm somewhat interested in honeyberry but they are expensive and I don't know that they are superior in any way to blueberries.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Mon, Sep 21, 09 at 1:43

Your description of 'Black Beauty' black mulberry may indicate you are growing contorted white mulberry in its place.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

This is my first year growing what the catalogs call "pineapple tomatillo" but what is apparently a ground or husk cherry. It's about the size of a large blueberry and is very sweet when dead ripe, productive, not a garden hog and completely disease-free. Another GW'er warns that it self-seeds widely, but they don't have taproots or anything and should be easy to pull up with the rest of the potager volunteers.

They are wonderful in salsas and on cereal. I made a variation on insalata caprese using the tomatillos, Sungold tomatoes and lemon-zested stilton cheese, which turned out quite well.

Happy munching,

Rain


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

I have also experienced some nicely sweet and flavored Arbutus "strawberry" fruits. The texture is very pasty. Might make a nice chip dip with the addition of spices, hot peppers, bacon flavoring, etc.

My wife's ground cherry is a garden hog, taking up a lot of real estate. There must be nearly 1,000 husks on it. We haven't picked any yet but will try them soon. Rain, thanks for the suggestions.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Wow, Larry, your wife's ground cherry is doing some hogging? Hope my post isn't misleading, but perhaps yours is a different type than mine or perhaps it is because my plants are squeezed in between some hurking 8' tall tomatoes.

Enjoy your harvest -- I've read they make good jam and pies, too!

Rain


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Bboy- I was going thru Olympia on a Saturday and requested that Burnt Ridge bring a Black Beauty Mulberry to the farmer's market there, but they didn't read emails that morning and missed my order. However they had one grafted at about 6' off the ground, so I got it so as not to miss out entirely. I hate it. It has a lot of branches and they branch a lot but none go straight, they dip then go upward, and the large leaves are crowded and hide the fruit. I'm traveling at present and can post a photo when I get home. I'm not sure if I should prune it a lot to open it up or what. Also this year a bud broke halfway up the trunk that is the rootstock, I don't know what it's on. The leaves are different, kind of like oak leaves in shape. I'm tempted to let it grow as well since I'm not happy with the Black Beauty. Would that be bad?


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Bboy- I was going thru Olympia on a Saturday and requested that Burnt Ridge bring a Black Beauty Mulberry to the farmer's market there, but they didn't read emails that morning and missed my order. However they had one grafted at about 6' off the ground, so I got it so as not to miss out entirely. I hate it. It has a lot of branches and they branch a lot but none go straight, they dip then go upward, and the large leaves are crowded and hide the fruit. I'm traveling at present and can post a photo when I get home. I'm not sure if I should prune it a lot to open it up or what. Also this year a bud broke halfway up the trunk that is the rootstock, I don't know what it's on. The leaves are different, kind of like oak leaves in shape. I'm tempted to let it grow as well since I'm not happy with the Black Beauty. Would that be bad?


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 23, 09 at 12:20

I've never tried them but black fully ripe mulberry fruits are said to be tops for flavor. My neighbor has a top-grafted or high-pruned one that has grown for some years now, in fact after the 20' tall one on 80th in NW Seattle it is probably the biggest I have seen. She told me to come over and try some this year but I never got to it.

I have planted several named forms on Camano Island but have only one still left alive. And it is basically sitting. Maybe if a mulch and fertilize it will perk up. Species has been said to be hardy to only 10 degrees F., it is also possible that the different cultivars listed are not really distinct from one another. If those I have tried had developed I might by now be able to comment on this.

Little pruning should be required, other than removing the inferior white mulberry suckers. The normal habit for black mulberry is an upswept, somewhat stubby or antler-like small true.


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I also had heard that about Black Mulberries, hence I bought one. It must be all about how acid the fruit is, which gives it more zing, but to me they are so acidic as to be unpleasant. I much prefer Illinois Everbearing, or even the little weeping mulberries.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

  • Posted by bboy USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA (My Page) on
    Wed, Sep 23, 09 at 17:05

Somebody else was saying here (I think) that they really have to be completely ripe.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Sounds like you're about as close to an expert as we may have, Hemnancy, for exotic fruit in the Pac NW. I've tried lots of stuff over the years, but when something doesn't flourish, i always rip it out.

Black currants are a staple crop for us. We have 10 bushes. Even the leaves give off that same unique fragrance. Quality varies remarkably with cultivars. Some of the richest flavored varieties are quite small. One with the largest berries is very sweet right off the bush, but you have to let it mature on the bush weeks beyond the time that it looks ripe. The tiny rich variety, makes the world's most intoxicating syrup for vanilla ice cream.

We sometimes get a care package in the mail of mulberries from a friend in New Mexico. I don't think they'd do very well in the weird wet/dry climate we have in the san Juans.

I have a 4 year old persimmon tree. I'd grow it as an ornamental even if it didn't hold the promise of fruit, which it hasn't actually delivered on, besides one stray fruit last year that was quite delicious. It emphatically suffered in our drought this summer, but will survive.

I have tried Pawpaws. They are not tropical, originating the Ohio valley and the midwest. They have a very deep taproot like madrone, which makes it hard to get going properly. I never succeeded at growing them, and would probably keep trying if they didn't cost so much, and you didn't need two of them. The taste is quite worthy.

Until about five years, fall bearing raspberries were considered an "exotic" where i live. Now everybody grows them. I don't think the flavor can compare to the quality of July bearing raspberries.

I have a lasting problem with Burnt Ridge. Got their 2009 catalog around Christmas. Immediately ordered some grape vines, a fig tree, and a few other things. They sent them to me in early January, and everything died soon thereafter because the ground was frozen. I called them on it, asked what in the world they were thinking, since every other mail order sends living plants in the spring. They told me i had needed to mention that specifically, if i wanted them sent in the spring. I thought they were joking, but then the guy turned rude when I asked him to replace the things that had died. Never again. i hope he reads this.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Beluga01- I have bought a lot of cheap seedling trees from Burnt Ridge over the years. Some like the American persimmons and the sea berries I'm still waiting on for fruit. Maybe someday. Other plants I have had fruit from for a long time. I have driven to the nursery several times. The owner, I think Mike? Dolan, is very hard-working and conscientious, has always been helpful and courteous. I've never tried to get anything replaced, so I can't comment on that. My nut trees are very big now but I've never tasted any of the nuts because the squirrels get them all. The BR seedling paw paws I know are native N. American but are in a family where all the rest are tropical and the fruit has a tropical taste to me. They never gave me any problems, they are in shade a lot from the nearby woods. They had to get about 10' tall before they bloomed, and the one started to fruit. I'm hoping it's just a pollination problem and when and if the grafted tree starts to bloom the second one will set some fruit. BR has cold storage and so can provide bareroot plants pretty late in the season. Some of the late season bareroot plants I've bought from Raintree didn't make it even though kept in their big cold storage facility. I wasn't as satisfied with plants from RT that were shipped to me as with ones I picked out myself at the nursery. I tried a few seconds, a few end of season trees, some made it, some didn't.

I am discouraged about the black currants because of the maggot problem so prefer Aronia, which to me has no equals in ease of harvesting, health benefits, and yields among the berries. Blueberries, raspberries, and even the wild blackberries taste better fresh.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

my honeyberry plants produced their first year (planted last fall). low yields, but the taste was pretty good. produced fruit very early in the season-- even if they continue to be low producers the species is useful for this reason.

my Billardiera (apple berry), which according to some is OK for fresh eating, is uh- not good for fresh eating. haven't tried cooking them either. the fruits are too cute to harvest.

i planted two cornus mas trees at my last place, i really enjoyed the fruit from one of them. they were from friends of trees, not selected for taste of fruit. the trick was to harvest the fruits pretty quickly after they started wrinkling-- but NO SOONER. crazy astringent before the wrinkles. pretty good cherry-ish/plum-ish flavor. fruit to pit ratio leans to PIT. but you can get yourself a little snack while puttering around the garden.

as for currants, i have a couple selected varieties, but my favorite for fresh eating is still the native golden currant. its another plant where picking time is important.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Aronia: when do you harvest it? I read after first frost. Is it right?
I am growing achocha (bolivian cucumber).

I love black current by have to cover it with tight net to prevent flies.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW - wild blueberry

Is anybody growing wild blueberry (cowberry, bearberry)? It's low growing ground cover.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

I'd like to get some bearberry starts. It's a very pretty groundcover. I hadn't realized that it was also an edible fruit. Are you growing it?

Rain2Fall


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

No, i am not growing bearberries (unfortunately). Looking for them as well. I just got catalog from Fedco and it has bearberries, but they were grown in East, so i am not sure if they will grow in PNW.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

I have tasted most of these ground-cover berries in the wild, not much about them to recommend. Wild dwarf blueberries and grouseberries are excellent.

Most arctostaphylos fruit is pretty dry inside.

Our ground cherries remain green and unpleasant. I saw most of the plant go out to the recycle cart today, we'll hang on to a living branch or so to see if they improve.

What do these Bolivian cukes taste like?


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

Bolivian cukes: when very young they a little bit like cukes, good for salad, older don't have any prominent taste, but are good for stuffing or fry.


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I have some cambodian cukes. Unfortunately, the seeds vary dramatically in the one seed pack i got from Baker Creek. One plant was extraordinary, the cukes were yellow/green with a small elongated tip on one end, like a half blown up balloon. So sweet with some kind of unidentifiable extra flavor in the background. the other plant i started produced bitter cukes, that we never used. They were much more yellow in color.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

I cooked and ate some Mountain Ash berries strained and made into gelatin. They were OK but a slight astringent off-taste. Not as good as Aronia, blackberries, black currants, blueberries, raspberries, etc.

Aronia seemed to ripen early this year, I finished picking them last week and they seemed a little over the hill. I've never waited until after frost to pick them, they seem to dry and shrivel up a little eventually. Regrettably they seemed a little infested with the maggots of the fruit fly that is posted about on this forum. I was reading about them and am going to have to take steps to fight them next year, along with apple maggot flies.:-( And in addition to chopping up my fig that split I plan to also chop down my self-sown hawthorn tree that is apparently a host plant. Fun fun.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

hemnancy, what is your plan to fight fruit fly?
I got this evil as well. Did not check aronia, but i lost almost all fall crop of raspberry.
As i read there is no means for this insect yet. I assume that you are talking about spotted wind drosophilla.


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RE: Exotic fruit for the Pacific NW

briergarden- This is from the link on the spotted wing Drosophila post, it is about a similar fruit fly. It suggests using the spinosad control, which is made from a bacteria and is organic, but also suggests making traps from plastic pop bottles with holes in them and with water containing torula yeast to attract the fruit flies. I don't know if just vinegar or brewer's yeast would work as well, perhaps. I plan to try the bottles and maybe the spinosad if I can find it cheaply enough. I didn't have it in raspberries or blueberries but it seems to be a very bad pest.:-(

I am trying harder this year and picked a lot of my rugosa rose hips. I'm drying some with the seeds scraped out, some whole, and trying to make puree out of some. I like the taste a lot of the skin and pulp scraped off the seeds with my teeth.

I've also had some of this year's crop of hardy kiwis, I don't know if the frost hurt them or not, I should try picking some more. I haven't figured out how to preserve them. I like the taste which is pretty much like fuzzy kiwis.

Here is a link that might be useful: olive fly, similar to spotted wing


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