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Something new under the sun

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LEHI — Pluots may not have been the fruit that tempted Eve in the Garden of Eden, but "It's so close, it should've been," Casey Abney says.

Abney is the manager of the Farmer's Market held at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi on Saturday mornings.

Green and speckled with red dots or sometimes gold with purple speckling, the pluots are a delicious, sweet, fleshy fruit that combines the best of a plum and an apricot. They were originally produced and introduced to the market by Zaiger Genetics, a California plant breeder.

Pluots are smooth skinned while counterpart apriums are fuzzy.

Right now, they cost 50 cents a piece at the Farmer's Market, and a bushel empties quickly even while competing with strawberries, melons and chocolate-covered cherries.

"We fly them in," Abney said. "At first, if people don't know about them, they don't get a lot of attention but once we talk about them and they sample them, they're gone!"

The strange-looking balls of fruit resemble dinosaur eggs as they get bigger, hence the nickname that makes them appropriate to sell in the market adjacent to the new North American Museum of Ancient Life.

But bite into one and it's a trip.

"I've even planted one in my back yard," said LaVerne Nerdin, a longtime American Fork resident who helps pass out samples at the market.

"They make the sweetest jam. It looks a little weird because it's kind of an off pink color, but it tastes wonderful."

Nerdin, Abney and Thanksgiving Point horticulturist Larry Sagers each have a pluot tree, Nerdin said. They're a little tricky to raise, and there has to be a nearby pollinator tree for the formula to work.

"I like the Santa Rose plum, but any plum or peach tree would work," Nerdin said. "I went down and got some blossoms and shook them all over to be sure it would get pollinated. The first year, I had about a dozen fruit. This year, I think I'll get at least a gallon."

E-MAIL: haddoc@desnews.com