Fall is here, according to the calendar, and it feels like it, too. It was pleasantly cool and partly cloudy today. And, sundown tonight marks the start of the year 5767 on the Jewish calendar. There is a tradition at Rosh Hashanah of “first fruits,” in which one should celebrate the season with fruits that are just ripening as the new year begins–preferably different fruits on each of the two nights of the holiday.
Fortunately, there are pretty much always at least two new fruits available at Ladera Frutal.
This season, in addition to apples (a very traditional new year’s first fruit), we are just now getting the Asian pears, such as these Hosui pears, some of which weigh over a pound now. (This photo was taken almost a month ago, right before I put the bird netting over these trees.)
This tree is planted in a cluster of four pears. The tree in the foreground is ‘Red Bartlett’ and it also has one pear, visible near the right side of the photo. The Seckel pear is not clearly visible here, but also has a lot of fruit this year. (The fourth one is a Comice, which has yet to fruit.)
The quince has a heavy crop this year.
Quinces are a very old fruit that is not so well known in this country, unfortunately. This one is a rare Russian import known as ‘Aromatnaya.’ Although, like all quinces, it is best cooked (lamb stew with quince!!), this variety is tender and sweet enough to eat fresh, and what great flavor! Soon, we’ll be making some quince jelly (or, rather Merry will–division of labor between farmer and processor, and all that).
Another first-fruit treat this season is the jujube, seen here with its ripening fruit. (In the foreground is a stalk of Raja Puri bananas that blew down in some recent gust; the fruit is now hanging in the breezeway to ripen.)
The jujube is a lesser known fruit on this side of the Pacific, but is much prized in China. Its flavor is often said to be something of an amalgam of apple and date, which ought make it an ideal Rosh Hashana first fruit. This variety goes by the really sexy name of GA 866, and is said to have a remarkably high sugar content. I don’t know, because I have not tasted one yet. I am saving that for tonight.