Elephant Heart Plum

Ark of taste
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The plum’s smooth skin is unusually mottled, like a russet pear. The exterior shoulders of this heart-shaped fruit are tawny, darkening to an orange-red in the midsection and a blue black at the tip. The flesh is a consistent dark ruby red, so that some call it a “blood plum”. When perfectly ripe, the meat is so juicy that it is more like a beverage than a fruit. The soft flesh is luscious with tropical and vanilla overtones. The fragrance is subtle, the flavors rich and distinctive. The skin has a tart, berry flavor. The Elephant Heart plum is grown by some home gardeners and only a few stone fruit farmers, those with small farms that practice hand-picking and hand-packing. There are few plantings left in California because the Elephant Heart requires such gentle handling. This plum must be harvested when perfectly ripe, or it tastes like grass. Like other fruits that have fallen from fashion, the Elephant Heart is not picture perfect. Its brownish skin makes it a marketing challenge, unless the consumer knows the superior flavor of the flesh. California Clean Growers, an organization of family farmers in the California’s Central Valley, refers to this plum as “one of the best eating plums to be found.” Developed in Sonoma County by Luther Burbank (1849-1926) from his collection of Japanese plums and introduced to commerce in 1929 by Stark Brothers, the Elephant Heart grows primarily in California, ripening in mid-August.

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StateUnited States


Production area:Central Valley

Other info


Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Nominated by:Chef Justin Cogley, L’Auberge Carmel, Relais & Châteaux