THE 2024 CATALOGUE IS HERE!!! And it's our best yet. Featuring over 550 crops — 100 of them new — this is our biggest catalogue ever. NOTE: After delaying most shipments due to the extreme cold weather, we are working through the backlog now. Thank you for your patience!
Beach plums are native to the northeast US coast from Virginia to Maine. They are most widely known and consumed in New Jersey and Massachusetts, especially in Cape May and Cape Cod, where they are both harvested wild and cultivated on a small scale. The fruit of beach plums are small and round, varying in size from a penny to a quarter, and varying in color from yellow-orange to red to blue to purple. The flavor — sour with a touch of sweetness and sometimes slight bitterness — is usually quite nice out of hand, but is greatly improved by cooking or brewing. It makes an utterly delicious jam or jelly, a fine wine, and a lovely vinegar too. As a wild plant native to highly exposed dune environments, beach plums are very easy to grow and take to garden cultivation quite well. In fact, due to their wild nature, they thrive with near complete neglect. In our area, they produce delicious fruit with no spray, no fertilizer, and no watering. Being a dune plant, they root themselves very deeply.
A beach plum can grow into a tree up to 10 or 12 feet tall, but typically becomes a shrubby-looking bush. Wild beach plums are noted for having off-years when none of the beach plums in an area produce any fruit. Sometimes this is due to very late frosts, but sometimes the reason is unclear. Our ongoing beach plum improvement project seeks to identify or develop cultivars with more regular bearing, larger fruit, and more productivity. Anyone who purchases these seeds is encouraged to sign up for the project here: www.ExperimentalFarmNetwork.org.
These select seeds come from good-tasting plants at the EFN flagship farm in Elmer, NJ. By popular demand, this selection is composed of roughly 50% seeds from the less common golden-fruited plants and 50% from purple, red, or blue-fruiting plants grown in proximity to golden-fruited plants. We're hopeful this will result in a higher proportion of golden-fruited seedlings! Please let us know how they do for you!
NOTE: Because we have a limited amount of these seeds and each seed is unique and potentially precious, we do not conduct germination tests (which would require sacrificing hundreds of seeds) on breeding mixes like this one. But these seeds were harvested in 2023 and processed appropriately.
GROWING TIPS: Seeds are more likely to sprout with 60-90 days of cold moist stratification (kept in a sealed plastic bag or glass jar with peatmoss, sand, or potting soil in the fridge should do the trick). Whether planting in pots or directly in the ground, be sure to protect them from rodent predation. Young plants are particularly susceptible. Space plants at least three feet apart and prune every winter to keep them manageable.[