I’ll never forget when I first moved to Austin and noticed our abundance of loquat trees—in yards, parks, abandoned lots—they seemed to be everywhere! But if it weren’t for my Lebanese father, Peter, I may not have ever tried this sweet, tart fruit. Loquats, or akedenia as they’re called in his country, are one of my dad’s favorite treats. The look on his face when he saw a heavy, fruit-laden tree on his first visit to Austin was one of pure joy! As we drove past a tree in an empty lot, he yelled, “Turn around!” We spent the rest of his visit on a daily hunt for loquats, and it’s become a tradition each time he visits in the spring or early summer. He fashions a stick called a naehli with a hook on the end to gently pull down, with touching familiarity and confidence, the high branches. I can almost picture him harvesting and eating the beloved fruits in his native country.
There’s no need to forage around town for loquats—the trees are a snap to grow. Consider adding one or two to your edible landscape.
by Lydia Jarjoura