My first experience of this was not an unknown fruit to me but certainly one I was surprised to see – an avocado.
It was growing in the backyard of a property right next to Corio bay in North Shore and despite having salty, southerly breezes to contend with it still gave an amazing crop. At the time the house was vacant, hence the crop was shared with a few savvy neighbours as no-one else seemed to know what they were. Unfortunately the house and Avocado tree have since been removed. The best variety to grow down south is the Bacon and Fuerte which will both survive frosts to -2 degrees. The other thing to be mindful of is that this will be a tree that is going to take years to flower (and therefore) fruit – probably around 6 to 7 years in our climate, so not a great choice if you’re planning on moving soon!
Perhaps less known is the Tamarillo or tree tomato. Another sub tropical plant from South America and growing commercially in New Zealand, these big leafed but modest sized trees produce a delicious fruit a few years after planting. They grow quickly when planted in rich well draining soil and will like a north facing position to take advantage of our winter sun.
Feijoa is another variety that’s highly underrated in Australia. As per the Kiwi Fruit the New Zealanders have got a jump on us so you’ll see Feijoa wine and all sorts of things in production over there. They are a beautiful evergreen tree, best planted with a few others to aid pollination. The fruit is fantastic and sweet. They’re also known as Pineapple Guavas.
The final edible must have is a smaller shrub known as a Strawberry or Cherry Guava. Again originating in the South American region they are a great productive substitute for a less formal hedging plant. The fruit is amazingly sweet and the hard seeds are best swallowed or spat out. The hard seeds are the main reason I believe this variety hasn’t become a commercial success as the fruit is delicious, unlikely to be attacked by birds and very high in vitamin C.
Only a few years back it was hard to get your hands on these more unusual edibles, but I’ve recently seen them in many mainstream garden centres and nurseries.