That one plum tree can put out so much fruit is boggling. The tree overwhelmed us this year, making up for last year’s plum absence. We suspect there was a frost then, unnoticed by us as the tree was in full flower. This year the tree flowered and then fulfilled on its promise.
One branch of plums provided for eight pints of plum chutney (click here for the recipe), another branch for another eight pints. Yet another branch allowed for six bags of plums to be frozen for pie fillings, cobblers, and crisps. All of this canning and freezing turned my fingers brown with the tannin, and used up only about half of the plums.
Naively hoping that one baked dish would use up the rest of them, I baked a cobbler. Foolish me. I then picked two dutch ovens-full and prepped them for jam. Again, I went through the routine. Washed, plucked stems, halved, pitted, lemoned, and filled two large cooking pots. That was it; I’d had it. I was done.
Out to the tree I went and picked every last plum. Relieved every last sagging branch. Got out the Japanese handsaw and cut down a really tall branch that I could not reach. I plucked it all clean. I did not wash, stem, pit or lemon these. Packed them into grocery bags and carted them off.
To the local food pantry. This felt good. Bags of plums that I do not have to process. We signed up with the local Cooperative Extension for them to quantify our donations. Last year, gardeners in this county contributed 40,000 pounds of produce to food pantries. Many farmer/gardeners have become CSA's: Community Supported Agriculture. We are now an ASC: Agriculture in Support of Community. This, too is a good feeling. It feels gratifying. It seems like this connection is one that can work for us. -jmm