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Empress plum season under way

The 2014 Empress plum season should be a bumper crop of high-quality fruit. Empress plums are a seasonal niche fruit with a loyal following in several regions of North America. They are only available for four to six weeks, and this year’s harvest is starting five to seven days earlier than a typical year due to outstanding weather.empress-plum-7

Overall production of Empress plums is expected to be up by 20-25 percent for the popular "Blue Goose" label, which is marketed exclusively by the Grant J. Hunt Co. There will be two sizes available, 1-3/4 inch and two inch.

“This is one of the cleanest crops of Empress plums I’ve ever seen," Eric Patrick, marketing director, said in a press release. "We are getting great size, and could potentially peak on the larger two-inch plums. The Milton-Freewater [OR] region has had ideal growing weather for the past couple of weeks with virtually no wind, so the fruit is really clean looking. Consumers are in for a treat.”

Empress plums are large and egg-shaped with blueish-purple skin and a freestone pit. They are popular with the baking community because when they cook, the plums turn into a thicker, almost jam-like consistency without turning into mush. Tarts, cakes and other baked goods then maintain their shape better and don’t turn into a soggy mess which can happen with other fruits and plums.

The Grant J. Hunt Co., formed in 1934, is headquartered in northern California and has offices in Yakima, WA, and Seattle.