Santa Rosa Plums Are Awesome, So Hurry to Local Farmers Markets Now

Tasting a Santa Rosa Plum for the first time a few years ago opened my eyes (and mouth) to the fact that I had probably never really tasted a plum before. Sure, I had technically eaten things called plums, but in reality those were mushy watered-down purple round things disguised as plums.

Santa Rosa plums are small. They take only two or three bites to finish, so you might think they aren't worth your time. But you would be so wrong, because they are sweet with a tart finish and full of flavor. They are what summer tastes like. Until tomato season anyway, then that's what summer tastes like.

Anyway, all that to say is that Santa Rosa plums from Larken Farms in Waxahachie were available at White Rock Local Market and Coppell Farmer's Market this past Saturday. Which means if you are interested in tasting the amazingness you better jump on it, because they will only be around for a few weeks. (If anyone knows another farm that has them in the area, let's hear it.)

Turns out we have a man named Luther Burbank to thank for the Santa Rosa plum. Burbank was a horticulturist, and besides the Santa Rosa plum he developed a bajillion (or 800) other varieties of plants, many of them fruits and vegetables. (One of these varieties is everyone's favorite potato, the russet. OK, maybe that isn't your favorite potato, but it is probably the one you have eaten at every fast food restaurant you have ever visited. So to recap, Luther Burbank: creator of the Santa Rosa plum and our national obsession with the french fry.)

Burbank introduced the Santa Rosa plum in 1906, and after several decades of commercial success it declined in popularity. Today you can find them at farmers markets in climates with cool, mild winters and hot, dry, long summers.

So what to do with them once you've bought them? They would be great in a cobbler or cake, but honestly they're so good you might not want to diminish the flavor with a bunch of cake (and that is saying a lot because cake usually makes everything better). The minute they are ripe, which you can tell by the fruit having a deep purple color and some give when squeezed, you will probably find yourself eating them hunched over the sink, because those suckers are juicy and messy. Also best to check your face in the mirror when you are through eating to make sure you didn't get plum all over yourself. Some advice from experience.

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Liz Goulding
Contact: Liz Goulding