Eat Your Fruit

It’s harvest time at the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension (UNCE) Orchard. Well, sort of.

The research-driven orchard in North Las Vegas recently had its first picking and is offering apricots and peaches to the public. It also has limited quantities of nectarines, pluots, morado gigante garlic and nopal cactus available.

UNCE is selling its goods onsite, from 8 a.m.-noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and at the Malta Farmers Market (7485 Dean Martin Dr., Suite 106) from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursdays.

Most of the orchard’s produce sells for $2 per pound, or $1 per pound for damaged fruit or if you buy in bulk—10 pounds or more. Prices are slightly higher at the Molto Vegas Farmers Market in order to cover transportation costs.

UNCE Orchard horticulture specialist Robert Morris says the entire orchard is a month behind schedule due to the cool spring.

“The first picking was limited,” he says. “We harvested about 200 pounds of fruits, and I’d say we have probably another 800 pounds of apricots in there.

UNCE grows a range of fruit, including several varieties of plums, figs, apples, pears and kumquats.

“We’ve got about 10 or 12 different varieties of apricots; there’s only about five trees of each variety,” Morris says. “Each tree is going to produce probably about 100 pounds.”

The associate professor says the best is yet to come. “When the weather gets hot, then the acidity begins to drop in the fruit and the flavors begin to come out better. When it gets hot, everything is going to rush at us at once.”

Apples are expected in August; pears are coming in September.

Morris calls arctic star nectarines “one of the best quality fruits in the whole orchard,” and says Florida prince peaches show promise this year, too.

“They were still pretty firm, [but] with warm weather, they may finish up pretty nicely,” he says. 4600 Horse Dr., 257-5509.

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