Thursday, November 18, 2010

NJ Places to Visit, Beach Plums

During your Cape May County vacation, visit the Ocean City beach to discover Beach Plums!  Prunus maritima, or Beach Plums, were mentioned by early European explorers but had practically disappeared from our Jersey Shores until fairly recently.

The Cape May County Beach Plum Association was established in 2005 and "...dedicated to the promotion and cultivation of the Beach Plum."  Why?  Well, it turns out that this native plant is ornamental, an aid to beach conservation, and is delicious in food and drink.  The versatile plant grows in sandy soil and manages to survive in harsh conditions.  In the Fall, it produces fruit the size of a Bing Cherry that is deep purple, or sometimes yellow, in color.  The fruit may be made into jams and jellies, syrup, honey, ice cream, and wines or liquors.

I had lunch recently with my friend, Julie, and she mentioned that she had just come from the Ocean City Beach where she instructed local high school students as they planted Beach Plums.  I was astonished to learn that 10,000 shrubs have been planted in South Jersey and volunteers like Julie are helping this once-thriving native make a comeback.

The Ocean City Beach is just a five-minute stroll from the Scarborough Inn Bed and Breakfast . When visiting, look for Beach Plums thriving on the dunes and maybe consider scouting for some tempting products to take home as a delicious souvenir of your Ocean City vacation.

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