Facts about favorite fruits

August 07, 1991|By McClatchy News Service

Curious facts about favorite fruits.


*It takes a peach tree about five years to start bearing commercially acceptable fruit, and then it will bear for 18 to 20 years.

*For years, the peach was a cult object in China, where for poets, sculptors and artists it was a symbol of immortality.


*There is -- and ever has been -- the popular belief that the nectarine is a cross between a plum and a peach. It's not true. The nectarine was bred by botanists in England.

*Most of the 150 California varieties of nectarines have been developed since World War II.


*An English schoolmaster named Stair found a yellow pear growing wild and sold it to a nurseryman who named the pear Stair. Stair pears were later planted in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. When the land they were planted on passed to Enoch Bartlett, he named the sweet yellow pears after himself.

*In Colonial America, pears rivaled apples in popularity. They were used to make wine, sauce, preserves and even a sort of hard cider.


*Plums come in more than 2,000 varieties.

*In 1905, California prune grower Martin Seely tried to remedy a labor shortage by bringing in 500 monkeys from Panama to pick his fruit. He organized them into groups of 50, each with a human foreman. The monkeys were efficient -- they picked every prune plum in sight. And ate them all.

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