Author Topic: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?  (Read 878 times)

JakeFruit

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Finally accepting the fact that I'll have to buy a tree from somewhere licensed in Florida. The hurdles now are finding the variety I want and finding a nursery that sells them. I've only had two varieties of pummelo I liked: one was from a local (dead/gone now) tree, the other is what I can get in Trader Joe's this time of year. The local tree had huge fruit; white flesh, fairly seedy, but with a very pleasant taste (it's been nearly a decade since I last tasted it). The TJ's fruit is pink to red in color, usually seedless, and a good balance of sweet to acid.  I'm sure the TJ fruit comes from CA, guessing it's a Chandler from what I've read. Describing the flavor I'm looking for, I'd say it has to have decent acid, not looking for all sweet. The TJ fruit often reminds me of a very sweet Ruby Red grapefruit. Anybody have suggestions for pummelos like that which do well in Florida?

I haven't found any nurseries in the Sarasota area that carry pummelo. Jene's Tropicals in St Pete lists them on their website, but googling the names of the varieties listed doesn't yield much information. Calling them for more information was a dead end, they didn't even have any in stock. Guessing I'll have to special order a tree, fine with that. I'm also okay with driving a few hours.

Any tips are appreciated!


brian

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it seems nobody can agree on the best varieties... see this thread:  http://tropicalfruitforum.com/index.php?topic=42633.0

JakeFruit

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Yes, I followed that discussion. Seemed all the commenters were outside of Florida. Florida has citrus locked down, I can only buy what's available from licensed growers/nurseries. Knowing what grows well and is available in Florida is what I'm after.

Galatians522

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If you are looking for a specific specialty citrus, I would recommend calling around to licensed retail citrus nurseries to see if any of them will let you custom order a tree. If they agree it will likely take a year or more to get your tree, and you may have to pay a premium to make such a small order worth their time, but that is probably the only way you are going to get a truly specialty tree. Of course, there is also the possibility that you will luck into a tree that was grown as overstock for a larger order (they always grow more trees than what the customer ordered to make sure that they have enough high quality trees).

JakeFruit

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If you are looking for a specific specialty citrus, I would recommend calling around to licensed retail citrus nurseries to see if any of them will let you custom order a tree. If they agree it will likely take a year or more to get your tree, and you may have to pay a premium to make such a small order worth their time, but that is probably the only way you are going to get a truly specialty tree. Of course, there is also the possibility that you will luck into a tree that was grown as overstock for a larger order (they always grow more trees than what the customer ordered to make sure that they have enough high quality trees).
Yes indeed. I've spoken with local nurseries, some say they can special order. None have catalogs I can look through, I need to know what pummelo I want. That's the challenge...

grant5185

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2022, 07:00:10 PM »
Harris citrus coop used to have many

RS

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2022, 12:17:02 PM »
The pink one from Trader Joe's might've been a Hirado Buntan, that's one of the more common FL pink varieties, really tasty. Harris Citrus and Brite Leaf usually have these for reasonable prices, even with shipping.

JakeFruit

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2022, 10:12:21 AM »

The pink one from Trader Joe's might've been a Hirado Buntan, that's one of the more common FL pink varieties, really tasty. Harris Citrus and Brite Leaf usually have these for reasonable prices, even with shipping.
99% sure they are trucked in from CA, sticker on the fruit says it's a SUNKIST "Red" pummelo. I contacted Harris, they aren't too far from me; they said they'd have 3 varieties available come spring: Siamese Sweet, Pink Sensation and Hirado. Definitely going for a Hirado and probably another, but choosing which is proving to be difficult. There's little information on the varieties online; the CCPP budwood listing for varieties matching those names doesn't make either sound very appealing.

RS

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2022, 03:24:01 PM »
You're right, there's very little info about FL pummelo varieties. This is the info I got on Hirado Buntan from the nursery where I got mine: "Matures Nov-Feb. Seedless but can be seedy depending on pollination. Very large fruit with larger segments than regular grapefruit. Easily peeled without getting juice on hands. Low acid."

My HB tastes like a less acidic pink grapefruit, love it, but probably left the fruit too long on the tree this year since a few segments are drying out, or maybe it didn't get enough water during growing season.

I don't know this particular nursery in Plant City (Hawkins Corner), but he says they have red, pink (Hirado Buntan) and white (Naikon?) pummelo varieties: https://youtu.be/Sc96EqsiCCw?t=80.

You're in luck because it's pummelo season! Some u-pick groves have them to try, e.g. Brown's Grove advertises them starting in December, https://brownsgrove.com/citrus.

JakeFruit

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2022, 12:37:54 PM »
Wow, I haven't heard of Brown's, thanks RS. Looks like they are selling at a local farmers market today, gonna give them a try.

It's been one terrible experience after another trying to buy local citrus for (at least) the last decade. Growing up here, my family ate probably a bushel a week of the tastiest navel oranges from local groves during citrus season. I've given up on trying local citrus; tired of dropping $$$ on a big bag of oranges, only to get home and find them insipid, at best. I think we are too close to the coast anymore, doesn't get cold enough.

RS

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #10 on: December 09, 2022, 03:02:05 PM »
JakeFruit, hope it works out! At least to try, knowing there'll be some variability and might be a bit early for peak flavor. There's an art to the ripening process that I haven't yet mastered. Or like you say with oranges, could just be too warm for optimal flavor.

I'd love to visit Shiraki Orchard in Japan someday, they grow 40 different pummelo varieties (plus 60 other types of citrus) and have pummelo available every month of the year...sounds like heaven to me :) Unsure how many other Japanese varieties have made it to FL, aside from Hirado Buntan.

sc4001992

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #11 on: December 09, 2022, 05:25:29 PM »
Here's a good article on pummelos with photos and a good description of the taste of each by the Fruit Mentor.

https://fruitmentor.com/californiapummelos


Galka

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #12 on: December 10, 2022, 05:04:36 AM »
You can find Hirado Buntan pumelo at Lowe's or HDepot. That's where I got mine and see them for sale every time I check these stores.

JakeFruit

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2022, 09:03:21 AM »
I did get several from Brown's stand; they were all the same variety, unfortunately they couldn't tell me what that variety was. All were pale, light yellow in color, some were as big as my head, big fruit segments with a few big seeds in most segments, and the flesh color varied from pale pink to something close to washed-out burgundy. With all the descriptions I've read, I'm 99% sure they were all Hirado Buntan.


I bought them in varying degrees of softness and tried them over several days. The one I ate immediately (which was the softest) was not terrible, but decidedly meh. I had to force myself to eat the whole thing, it was something close to the worst pummelos I've had from Trader Joe's. The next one, which was much larger & uglier, was more pleasant to eat. Most the fruit had firm, white areas along the narrow edge of each segment that tasted bland, but if I avoided that rest had a pleasant grapefruit flavor.


Still sitting on one more I'll try today.

Galka

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2022, 11:09:27 PM »
You can find Hirado Buntan pumelo at Lowe's or HDepot. That's where I got mine and see them for sale every time I check these stores.

RS

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Re: Where to buy a pummelo tree in SW Florida? What's the best home varieties?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2022, 09:08:13 AM »
A friend let me know that FL Starburst pummelos are in the grocery stores now. I picked one up yesterday (firm with a strong pleasant aroma, much smaller than HB), will see how it compares. From what I can find, it sounds like Starburst is a separate variety.

 

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