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Top fruit trees grown and sold in Cornwall.
The primary fruit trees for Cornwall are Apples, Asian or Nashi Pears, Medlars, some varieties of Plums, Mirabelle’s, Mulberries and some Pears. Most are known as top fruit as opposed to soft fruit which refers to currents and berries.
Apple trees, are most people’s starting point when searching for fruit trees for Cornwall to suit Cornish Orchards. There are a number of Cornish varieties of apples available plus some national varieties which do well in Cornwall although most prefer the dryer climate of the South East of the Country.
It’s thought that Cornish varieties of fruit trees such as the Kea Plum (found on the banks of the river Fal, between Falmouth and Truro), the Manaccan Plum and the Manaccan Primrose apple (both found on the Lizard Peninsula adjacent to the Helford river) would have been established as a result of ships trading in previous centuries.
There are some pear trees grown in Cornwall such as ‘Louise Bon of Jersey’, ‘Dr Jules Guyot’ and ‘Beurre Hardy’ but to get the fruit to ripen, the trees need the reflected heat of a south facing wall or to be located under a veranda, in a Poly tunnel or Glass house to reduce the chance of scab and encourage ripening with relative ease. Peaches, Nectarines and Apricots prefer similar conditions.
With regard to Plum trees, as well as the Cornish varieties such as the most sought after Kea Plum and Manaccan Plum, there are a few non Cornish varieties such as the Victoria Plum and River’s Early Prolific which are very productive and can be found in Cornish Orchards. The aforementioned are all European plums and are self-fertile.
In addition to the European plums are the Japanese plums, these are the edible plums sold in shops as they tend to keep reasonably well, most of which do not enjoy the Marine temperate climate of the west coast of Britain, with the exception of the variety called Fortune which will tolerate a wetter heavier soil. This needs a pollinator which can be found in either a Pluot or a Plumcot, (both Apricot /Plum crosses) or in dryer areas another Japanese plum would suffice as a pollinator.
Mirabelle’s are similar to a European plum in shape. However the best tasting varieties are sweeter and far more interesting than their European plum cousins.
Nashi or Asian tend to be Apple shape with a strong pear flavour, ripening on the trees with a crisp flesh that does not go soft in the centre like a European pear.