The (Beach) Plum Survives Its Poems

Beach plum jams and jellies are known the world over – and always associated with Cape Cod. Experiments are now in progress which may elevate the purple-hued beach plum to the commercial status of the Cape Cod cranberry.

This postcard appears to be from the 1960’s. It is now close to fifty years later and the beach plum’s struggle is apparently still on – people want to make it a commercially viable fruit, and it seems to still be refusing to cooperate.

In 2007, with the help of the USDA, several universities, and some cooperative extensions, a bumper crop of 800 pounds was gathered by this group. Of course, it wasn’t Cape Cod so maybe that was the problem. The card claims that beach plums are always associated with Cape Cod.

The beach plum has a most romantic sound to it. Both beachy and plummy it floats along, unattainable to the common person unlucky enough to not be foraging along the beach at the right time and right place . . . and the recipes which beach plums are now going into also have the right stuff to maintain this romance!

A Recipe For Romance
1 part romantic fruit (beach plum, pomegranate, quince, persimmon)
1 part goat cheese
1 part bacon
1 part greens

It’s a bit odd how the beach plum seems to be refusing the promise of ‘becoming elevated to the status of the cranberry’. In 1948 a Beach Plum Grower’s Association was started, but after ten years it mysteriously disbanded, with no word as to ‘why’.

Maybe the beach plum wants to stay small. Maybe it doesn’t really care if the foodies in other places feel the need to know it. Could it be that (as Wallace Stevens wrote) ‘the plum survives its poems’. (?)


3 thoughts on “The (Beach) Plum Survives Its Poems

  1. Ah, I remember gathering those beach plums out on the tip of Long Island in the summertime, even making jam one year when I had enough fruit. Now I order it from Yankee General Store. I hope they never perfect growing them anywhere else except their home on the Atlantic.

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