George V. Reilly


The cen­ter­piece of our back yard is an aging Italian plum tree. We moved in to our house in late August 2000, right as the fruit was fully ripe. We didn’t have a ladder and the former owners didn’t have time to deal with the tree either, so most of the fruit that year ended up in the yard waste. I dragged one enormously heavy yard waste can up the back steps into the alley that year. I like to say that it weighed as much as I did, but it probably didn’t.

We bought ladders and we’ve picked the fruit thereafter. The tree is old and no longer gives so much fruit, but there was a good crop this year. Yesterday I picked most of it, clearing out the upper reaches of the tree. I would guess that I picked about 35 lbs. We pitted and diced much of that, creating 24 lbs of chopped plums ready to be turned into jam. I estimate that there’s another 10–15 lbs in the tree, which I’ll pick over Labor Day weekend.

Emma often makes a Plum Clafouti from our plums.

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