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Aug 6, 2004 08:22 PM

Flavor King Pluots

  • d

This year I splurged and ordered a ridiculously expensive "Farmers Choice" selection of summer fruit from Frog Hollow Farms (link below). So, every week or two, a box of fruit shows up at my office. So far, there have been cherries, and several varieties of peaches and nectarines, most of which have been very good, and some of which have been extraordinary.

This morning, however, the UPS person delivers a Frog Hollow box marked "Flavor King Pluots." Cool. Well, anyway, it gets to be around five p.m., and lunch, ample as it was, is quickly receding in the rear view mirror, so I figure I'll sample one of these pluots (just to tide me over, you understand).

Anyway, I cracked open the box and pulled out one of the pluots. It was sort of on the dark purple side, and a bit wrinkled on the top; frankly, it didn't look like anything all that special. Well, I'm an idiot! Amazing doesn't even begin to capture it. This damn pluot was transcendent. Understand, I spent years living in the tropics; I've eaten fresh, tree-ripened mangos, but I've never tasted anything like this. This pluot had a concentrated sugary sweetness and stunningly intense summery plum flavor that was just mind blowing. I know this must sound hyperbolic and exaggerated, but I've never tasted a piece of fruit this wonderful before. I'm sitting here, staring at this damn box of pluots, with like eight pluots left in it, and I kind of don't know what to do. Part of me wants to try another one to see if maybe the first was just some sort of freak experience, but part of me wants to hoard them and dole them out as slowly as possible. Maybe I should order a bunch more. I don't know.

Sorry, I'm rambling. I'm not sure if the piece of fruit I just ate is representative of these Frog Hollow pluots as a whole, but if it is, I may have to buy boxes for everyone in my family, all my friends, and several more for myself. Unbelievable, really.


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    Professor Salt

    David, are you auditioning to take over Thi's effusive posts? : P

    1 Reply
    1. re: Professor Salt

      Sorry about that. Next thing you know I'll be carrying on about pork that tastes like cotton candy or some such... (Just kidding Thi!)

    2. You do know that you got them before the rest of us peasants who shop at the SF farmer's market don't you?

      1. Thanks for sharing your experience. It's important for those of us at the mercy of increasingly pathetic supermarket fruit supplies to know that real fruit still exists, somewhere...It keeps hope alive.

        1. Eat them all up as soon as you like, David. (If you can wipe the smile off your face before your clients come in.)

          Flavor King Pluots are readily available at some stores in Orange County (Wholesome Choice in Irvine, for one). In fact, the Saturday Farmer's Market (University Center on Campus Drive; 9am - 1pm) has Plouts all the time. One vendor has several varieties. And, the Flavor King variety is the absolute best.

          The Plout is a new fruit developed by grafting a plum tree and an apricot tree. The percentage of each fruit in the hybrid stalk determines the variety, some having more percentage of plum than apricot. You can readily tell by the color if it has more plum (sweeter) than apricot (a more golden or very slightly fuzzy skin - also referred to as an Aprium)

          Maybe your mail order source sends a very good quality, but if you are in the mood this Summer, check out a Farmer's Market. Or, come on in to Irvine for a fix.

          Ice cold ones are incredible, too. Do not store them in a company refrigerator. They might be instantly enjoyed by an opportunist.

          17 Replies
          1. re: kc girl

            We've been getting pluots, too, this year.

            I was wondering why they came in so many colors. So far, I've seen golden ones (not peachy-colored, like apricots -- more of a yellow), ones that look exactly like plums, and ones with sort of a green and red dappled skin. All have come from the local supermarket and all have been delicious.

            Thanks for the background, kc.

            1. re: kc girl

              Pluots rock!

              I must disagree with your definition of how they are grown and what determines the variety. Pluots are genetically engineered hybrids, as are Apriums. Both are registered trademarks of the genetics lab which developed the various varieties.
              Another hybrid is the Plumcot, which was apparently developed by another lab.
              The reason grafts are used is to eliminate the 10 or more years it would take to grow a whole tree. Apple orchards do the same thing-- grafting stock onto an existing tree. It is not done in order to produce the hybrid, the hybridization is already contained in the branch which has been grafted on.
              There are over twenty kinds of pluots, you can not tell by the color what the percentage of plum is. Some varieties are sweeter than others, but color is not an indicator.
              As for Flavor King being "absolute best", I'd disagree. Personally I like the Candy Stripe variety better. Supermarkets here in Boston seem to carry primarily Flavor King, but Market Basket had 4-5 varieties last week.

              1. re: AlanH™

                Your disagreeance is very unclear. You seem to be agreeing with my facts, but saying you're not. Maybe I should read your sources for clarity. Pluot and Aprium trees were introduced first to the home garden market in 1989. However, they are relatively "new" to many markets. They are termed a "complex hybrid." Maybe you are referring to regeneration of the existing hybrids by seed?

                And, I must disagree with you that one cannot tell if there is more plum or apricot in a hybrid variety. However, I can not tell by looking the "exact" percentage of its parentage. Some Pluots are close to 75% plum, 25% apricot.

                I will maintain that the Flavor King is the best. But, then I like honeydew more than cantelope (obviously more widely offered)- so to each his own.

                I also disagree with those that say a Pluot is a "pricey plum." The costs are often comparable around here. However, the ones David Kahn received are probably "cream of the crop" from a grand source (not unlike Harry and David?) Some Farmer's Markets have wonderful qualities of them.

                More at


                1. re: kc girl

                  I am certainly disagreeing with your facts, at least in the way you are explaining them.
                  You said "The Plout is a new fruit developed by grafting a plum tree and an apricot tree", implying if you stick a plum branch on an apricot tree you'll get a Pluot™ . That is not how it's done.
                  You also said "The percentage of each fruit in the hybrid stalk determines the variety", which is technically not true. The variety determines the variety. Recent studies have shown that some varieties actually have no apricot genes at all.
                  Additionally, I never said " one cannot tell if there is more plum or apricot in a hybrid variety". Perhaps you should re-read my post.
                  Sorry. I'm right. I really have nothing more to say.

                  1. re: AlanH™

                    You still didn't clarify and you are still wrong. End of story.

                    1. re: kc girl

                      I believe Mr. H. is indeed correct. Your explanation is genetically impossible, if I know my botany, and I believe I do...

                      1. re: peg

                        Thanks Peg. I also faile to point out that kcgirl proclaimed "the Flavor King variety is the absolute best". I would argue that while she may prefer it, there is no such thing as the "absolute best". If there were, then why would anyone grow or eat anything else?

                        1. re: AlanH™

                          You really should chill out about her opinion of what is the best pluot.

                          These boards are full of threads about "the best" of one thing or another. As a prolific poster you should certainly know that.

                          1. re: Bob W.

                            My main point was not what is the "best" Pluot, it was a comment on how Pluots are grown. Several people had thanked her for the info she provided, but the info was misleading or incorrect. I wimply wished to provide the straight dope. The issue of what is the best variety is obviously a matter of opinion, and I feel I made that point.

                            1. re: AlanH™

                              The straight dope is always welcome! Gregor Mendel would be proud. Of course, I liked to do Punnett Squares for fun back in high school.

                              Opinions about what is the best in any category are also always welcome, including pluots. I'm a big pluot/plumcot/aprium fan, probably because I've always been a big apricot and plum fan. My central/eastern European heritage comes out in funny ways.

                          2. re: AlanH™

                            I have been reminded that using the word "most" and "best" can mean a personal opinion that others may find annoying. I use them anyway and don't get too riled when others do as well. I find it enthusiastic. When I write you a personal report, I will remember your preference.

                          3. re: peg

                            Perhaps reading the attached sites would enlighten you to some botany of the pluot. You or Alan have yet to have anything more than an opinion.

                            The marketers of Pluots say the same thing.

                    2. re: AlanH™

                      Candy Stripe plouts are the only ones carried right now at Albertson's Market in Irvine (on Campus). And, they just call them Pluots.

                      The purple ones are at Wholesome Choice in Irvine (about a mile from there)

                      Still wondering how my brother grafted a lemon and lime tree and got one fruit that was exactly one half yellow and one half green lengthwise. He got an "A" in the class. It was about the same time they used one for the "Un-cola" commercials.

                      But, I see your point on how fruit tree genetics might be done in a lab professionally.

                      1. re: kc girl

                        ...ripe lemons tend to be green, and are dyed (just as oranges are) for market. My dad has lemon trees back home in AZ. A completely yellow lemon is usually dry as a bone.

                        Grafts do NOT absorb the tendencies of the rootstock. Period. If they did, you would have an awful lot of extremely unhappy rose growers, as well as people like my dad, who grafts exotic citrus on to common root stock, just as he used to with apples back in the day, here in the Midwest. He grafted Yellow Delicious, Red Delicious, and some other variety I can't recall on to the root stock of a decorative crab apple tree; he also grafted Tangelo and Ponderosa lemon on to the more vigorous stock of a common decorative orange.

                        1. re: peg

                          So-called "graft hybrids" do happen, but they are rare. One that is reasonably well verified is "Pyronia veitchii" which is a graft hybrid of Pyrus and Cydonia, supposedly having arisen as a shoot from the graft union of pear and quuince. The plant is indeed a mix of both species. With that information, you can see why I reported what the pluot distributors told me. Further expertise is seldom found, but correct research can be documented.

                          From what I saw of my brothers lemon/lime, it was not a matter of dying one half of it or an unripe half. Plus, it was not bottom/top half and half, it was lengthwise. In your case, I'm sure you would have to have seen the lemon to give it any consideration of credibility. There is no argument about what you want to think. I was there. What can I say?

                          I am not professing to be a hybrid expert. I am telling you what I have been told - which may not be the whole story, but not untrue.

                          1. re: kc girl

                            It may be true that you were told this incorrect information, but it is nevertheless incorrect. To repeatedly come back and tell us that we are only stating an opinion, when we have the facts, is what I found irritating. My original post was only to inform anyone who you had misinformed in the first place.
                            It is impossible to hybridize a lemon and lime and end up with a single piece of fruit which is lemon on one half and lime on the other. I would imagine it was simply a half ripe lemon.

                            1. re: AlanH™

                              We think everyone's had their say here. The discussion is just going in circles at this point. Let's move on, please.