Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Tree Tomato, Tamarillo

 Tree tomato or Tamarillo
There is nothing quite like the first fruit of the season picked and eaten straight from the tree, and the tamarillo has a wonderful balance of sweet and tart flavour. It cleanses the palate and puts a real zing in your mouth. We have the Kiwis to thank for making the fruit popular here as they coined the word 'tamarillo' in 1967 and produced the first commercial crops in the southern hemisphere which they exported around the world. The tree is actually indigenous to South America, in particular the regions of southern Bolivia and northwestern Argentina. On YouTube there are many videos featuring the production of fruit in these regions as well as lots of interesting recipes using it for both sweet and savoury dishes.
Tamarillos are quick growing trees and I would recommend staking them or giving them special protection in windy sites. For me, this is a case of expert advise not headed. My tree blew over in gale during the "big wet" of late summer. It has continued to grow at a 45 degree angle so the crown of the tree is now flat at eye level, with the new shoots pointing upwards. It looks pretty strange and I have to duck under it as it is now blocking a path. When the flowers first appeared I gave the tree a big feed of compost and some complete fruit tree fertilizer. Consequently I have been rewarded by a bumper crop. The tree is grafted onto a wild tobacco plant Solanum sp which makes it more resistant to eelworms and soil fungal problems. I think the life span of a tree is about five years but I may be proved wrong with this one, even though it has used up one life already and survived to live on in a bit of a kooky way. The tree trunk is pictured below.

1 comment:

  1. We were able to grow tamarillos successfully for around five years.
    Each year we literally had hundreds of fruit on the tree. Our tree grew on a lean too.
    Subsequent plantings have all been failures.
    I continue to enjoy your posts.