What do figs, pomegranates, persimmons, almonds, peaches, apricots, and grapes all have in common (aside from being delicious)? They’re part of a group we like to think of as “the Fruits of Persia’, as they all originated in the Fertile Crescent region and figure prominently in Persian cuisine.
The Rogue Valley shares several similarities with the climate of Persia: Hot summer days and cooler nights, relatively low rainfall, a long enough heat spell in summer to ripen fruits, and ample chill hours in winter. Thus, it makes sense that many of our favorite fruits come from this rich and abundant area of the world. In fact, the word ‘paradise’ has a Persian root, meaning walled garden. This year, let’s create our own paradise of luscious fruits!
• Love our hot summers
• Very traditional in Persian and Mediterranean cuisine
• Best flavor when picked very ripe and soft to the touch
• Choose early ripening or two-crop varieties
• Appreciate a well-drained soil
• Thought to be the ‘apple’ in the Adam and Eve story
• Drought tolerant and very heat tolerant, grown as a large shrub to small tree
• Like figs, locate in the hottest location you have and provide well-draining soil
• Choose early ripening varieties
• To avoid potential spring frost damage, choose a late blooming variety like ‘All in One’, which has the added benefits of being semi-dwarf and self-fertile
• Encourage your pollinators by planting pollinator-friendly plants nearby. They’ll repay your efforts by improving pollination!
• Well-draining soil is best but can tolerate some clay
• Nothing beats the taste of a sun warmed peach
• Long history in Persian culture. In fact, the botanical name for peach is Prunus persica!
• Lots of varieties so you can stretch out your peach harvest time
• Look for disease resistant varieties to avoid Peach Leaf Curl, or use a dormant oil spray
• Does best in a well-drained soil; all varieties are self-fertile!
• Early blooming like the Almonds. For best results, choose late blooming, self-fertile varieties like Harcot, Chinese, Moorpark, and Autumn Glo
• Best flavor when picked ripe, and always better than store-bought!
• Very traditional fruit in Persian cuisine: fresh, dried, and preserves
• Like most fruit trees, Apricots do best in well-drained soil
• Love our hot summers; drought tolerant and fast growing
• Very traditional in Persian and Mediterranean cuisine, leaves are culinary as well
• Choose different varieties to enjoy contrasting flavors and colors and ripening times
• Can tolerate different soils, but well-drained is best. Avoid overwatering
• Maintain good air circulation and sun exposure to avoid mildew
• Persimmons originally developed in China and Japan. However, the word “persimmon” likely come from a Persian word meaning date-plum: a nice description of the flavor!
• Very ornamental tree with great fall color and decorative and edible sweet fruit
• Best flavor when allowed to soften
• One of the latest fruits to harvest, cold hardy to Zone 7
• Persimmons can handle clay soils better than most fruit trees