Today I was alerted to Beach Plum Week, happening in the adjacent neighborhood of Long Island City, Queens. I’d never heard of beach plums before this, but turns out they are plums indigenous to New York City and Long Island. Like a lot of plums they are slightly tart, and I imagine that increases around the pit and in the skin. They are also very small, like a half to one inch in diameter.
From what I can gather, beach plums do not grow on tall trees but on more of a bushy, lower-lying plant. It also seems they like sandy soil (hence the “beach” in their name), but can grow in heavier soil, too. At first I thought the plum trees outside in the backyard might be beach plums, but after reading a little bit about them it doesn’t sound like it; what my plums are is still a mystery to me.
In any case, Beach Plum Week goes from October 1-9, 2011. It’s actually a fundraisier for Hour Children, a food pantry based in Long Island City (Hellgate CSA used donate extra produce to them years ago). Funds will be raised through local LIC restaurants serving beach plum based dishes and beverages. So far, three restaurants are participating:
- Manducatis Rustica, serving beach plum gelato
- Communitea, serving beach plum smoothies
- Sage General Store, serving beach plum fish tacos.
Where will the plums come from? They were purchased from Briermere Farms, located on Long Island (I have fond memories from my grad school days of eating their strawberry rhubarb pies). John Prunier of Petsky Prunier Investment Bankers then donated the plums to the efforts of Beach Plum Week.
The person behind Beach Plum Week is Erik Baard, who also is the driving force behind the Newtown Pippin project. The Newtown Pippin apple was cultivated centuries ago on the banks of Newtown Creek (sadly, currently a Superfund site); Erik is determined to get this apple planted around the city. He was also voted “Greenest New Yorker” in 2011 by I Love NY. If you have questions for him, contact him at either email@example.com or 917-697-9221.
And if you are not in the area, or can’t enjoy the beach plums yourself, but want to support Hour Children, you can make a donation here:
Food Bank for New York City
39 Broadway, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10006
Memo: Account Number 81171 (Hour Children)
I hope to make it to one of these LIC restaurants during Beach Plum Week – if I do, I’ll definitely report back on my impressions!
Photo credit: (cc) Aznaturalist on Wikimedia Commons