In my opinion, despite the wonderful and generous effort of the volunteers, this year’s cherimoya tasting ended up being “a dud.” There were 9 varieties of cherimoya on the tasting tables: Booth, Concha Lisa, Knight, Lucida, Orton, Oxhart, Pierce, Santa Rosa, and 36-10. I had one taste of each before trying a few of them again for a second round. I was luckier than a number of people, who lined up to buy a bag of cherimoyas before making it to the tasting. I’m pretty sure that some of them missed the tasting entirely, because there wasn’t the usual good supply of samples; they were gone by 10:30 — much earlier than in the past.
Almost all the samples I got weren’t really ripe. My overall opinion was that Booth was the best this year, but that was really only because I had one sample of it that was truly ripe. It had a pleasantly smooth texture, good sweetness, and a bit of lemon-y flavor. Pierce and Orton, which have been consistently at the top of my list in the past, were still green enough that they were relatively tough and tasteless.
For those who bought cherimoyas, the bags I saw were not too full, and the cherimoyas looked pretty small. I overheard someone say pretty much the same thing, but they waited in line and bought it anyway, to support the UCANR program.
Again, this wasn’t the fault of the staff, I’m sure. The rains appear to have messed up more than just the timing of the event. I’m thankful to have benefited from these events over the years. This year I learned more about just how much difference rain and ripeness can make in the quality of the fruit.