Maybe not as popular as the Jersey peach, the Jersey blueberry, or even the Jersey cranberry, but now is the time of the year for that coastal fruit treat known as prunus maritima.
The beach plum.
The beach plum?
Yes – the beach plum, aka “The Official Fruit of Cape May County”, where it has been a part of the agricultural scene for a couple of hundred years. Although it’s not as widely available as the other fruits mentioned above, we have now arrived at the prime time picking season for the beach plum. In celebration of the beach plum, a tasting competition is taking place right now as we speak at the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Office in Cape May Court House. The contest, being run by the Cape May Board of Agriculture and the Beach Plum Association of Cape May, will determine who grows the tastiest plums around. The contest will run through September 15.
If you want to learn more about the beach plum, there will be a special lecture at the Lower Township branch of the Cape May County Library on August 22 called “Beach Plums: Rubies of the Dunes”. Learn about the history, its place in local folklore, and its use in Beach restoration. And if the weather is agreeable, a tour of a beach plum farm is included. There is not fee for the event, but you need to register in advance.
Further up the coast, at Island Beach State Park, the annual Beach Plum Festival will be taking place on September 11 from 9AM to 4PM. Crafts and activities for kids of all ages will be taking place, and pick up a sample of beach plum jelly while you’re there.