Green Gage European Plum
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The Green Gage European Plum (or Greengage Plum) is not simply another fruit tree. This heirloom tree, cherished since at least the 16th Century, produces funny, dull yellow-green plums that don’t look very promising, but taste like pure ambrosia. Super-soft and very fragile when ripe, they’re impractical to ship, and growing your own tree is probably the only way you’ll get to experience the extraordinary, honey-like sweetness of this incredible fruit. Use Green Gage plums to make heavenly desserts like cakes, ice cream, or tarts, or add them to chutneys to give sweetness and pizzazz to savory main dishes like pork, chicken, or turkey. That is, if any of these luscious plums actually make it to the kitchen!
- Hardiness Zone: 5-9
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Before there was candy, there were Green Gage plums. These syrupy-sweet fruits have been loved for centuries in Europe. In France, they are called ‘Reine Claude’, for Queen Claude, who ruled with King Frances I way back in the early 1500s. In 1724, the British were introduced to the decadent fruit when a priest in Paris gave a tree to his brother, Sir William Gage, in England. The tag was lost in transit, so instead of keeping the name ‘Reine Claude’, the tree was renamed ‘Green Gage’. By the late 1700s, Green Gage had traveled to the U.S., and both Presidents George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it in their gardens.
Much of the food in our grocer’s produce aisle today has been engineered to endure the trials of being picked mechanically, packed in boxes, shipped great distances, and stored for long periods of time. These attributes have often come at the expense of taste. Old World Green Gage plums come from another era, when flavor reigned supreme—not shipability. To grow this tree is to preserve a piece of history, while also enjoying a very special treat each year of the most delectable fruits you’ll find anywhere!
How to Grow
Your Green Gage Plum Tree will be happiest and most productive in an open, warm, sunny position. This is a partially self-fertile tree, which means that it will set some fruit on its own, but yields will be improved if there’s another variety of plum in the vicinity. Steady irrigation is important during the first year or two of establishment and during dry spells after that, but excess water must drain away, or root rot may ensue. A heavy rain just before harvest can cause the fruits to swell and split; if this happens, eat, freeze, or cook them right away (they make a delicious jam). Plum Trees in general aren’t terribly difficult to grow, but they aren’t immune to pests and diseases. If you have any problems at all, please don’t hesitate to ask our talented support team at firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
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