Exotic fruit, exotic fruit farmers & products. What makes them exotic?
And see the exotic fruit WE grow and YOU can grow too!

Exotic fruit is NOT unusual

Exotic fruit, unusual fruit or rare fruit are NOT unusual.  Often, they are easier to grow, easy to transport and are more nutritious.  

One “exotic fruit” grows naturally in 26 US States.  Another type of “exotic fruit” is grown by the Chinese for at least 1,500 years.  Below, we list 12 types of “exotic fruits” that are easy to grow, and common.  YOU too can grow exotic fruits!  

These types of fruit are not in grocery stores (or Farmers’ markets).  Monoculture vs polyculture farming techniques plays a role.  This is a complex topic.  Basically, it’s cheaper to grow TONS of the same crop (monoculture) than growing a mix of crops (polyculture).  Below, we define monoculture and polyculture, and provide examples.

Exotic fruit have phenolic compounds that prevent cancer

Learn to Grow exotic fruit!

Landscape architects, individual consumers and businesses don’t help.  They don’t use types of exotic fruit products (eg, the plant, the food product, etc).  However, there are FANTASTIC associations, farmers, individuals, and commercial industries producing exotic fruit products.  These entrepreneurs should be rewarded.   Below is a list of associations, farmers, individuals, and industries producing exotic fruit products.  YOU have a choice so get on-board by supporting these folks.  

Research exotic fruiting plants using these RELIABLE sources.  Find the plants that fit your zone, your needs, your taste, etc!  I list my favorite research websites for “exotic” plantys!  AVOID funky online gardening gurusWhen viewing these gurus, do you see a table of blemish-free fruit and veggys that are not wilted AND, each variety of fruit or veggy is exactly the same size!!   Well, then that is so NOT organic gardening!  Use RELIABLE online sources.

We conclude this page by listing special nurseries.  They sell exotic fruit trees, shrubs and other edible plants!  We use these nurseries for HEPPY.  YOU can make a choice to change 😉  Give ’em a try!

Be HEPPY™ — be exotic 😉

Webpage content

Exotic fruit are NOT unusual — here are 12 examples!

1. Exotic fruit, Paw Paw (Pawpaw), Asimina triloba

you probably never heard of the Pawpaw TREE that produces:
1. the largest fruit native to the U.S.;
2. grows near water in over 26 U.S. States;
3. a fruit is described as “custard-like” with a flavor profile similar to tropical fruits;
4. is a totally low maintenance tree, is completely deer resistant and, largely pest and disease free; 
5. has a long tradition of use by Native Americans; 
6. Pawpaw fruit contains all essential amino acids, is super rich in minerals and provides many vitamins
7. is a visually attractive tree that, with little care/effort, will grow naturally into its wonderful conical pyramid-like shape, and be draped with large dark green leaves; 
8. has commercial properties to include anti-cancer properties and, a natural insect repellent.  

Pawpaw fruit are common (in the wild), tasty, SUPER easy to grow, US Natives and Lewis & Clark ate them, nutritious, visually attractive and possibly saves lives.  and, FEW people in America know the Pawpaw tree and Pawpaw fruit. 

why Pawpaw fruit is not in your grocery store:  Pawpaw totally doesn’t transport well.  fruit must be picked just barely soft or soft, then eaten fresh (or refrigerated for no longer than ~4-5 days).

pick paw paw along the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Maryland
Pawpaw picked on the Chesapeake Ohio Trail

2. Exotic fruit, Chinese Hawthorn, Crataegus pinnatifida

Crataegus pinnatifida trees start growing in March

“Mayhaw” (Crataegus aestivalis & Crataegus opaca) is the most commonly known Hawthorn in North America.  the edible fruit is very popular for jellies, preserves, syrups, juices, candies, pastries and wine.  it’s been harvested in North America by humans since…forever, but you won’t find it in stores.

conversely, the Chinese have a long history with a Crataegus.  the Chinese Hawthorn, Crataegus pinnatifida was first mentioned as a beneficial drug in the Tang ben cao of dating to 659 AD (Tang ben cao is the world’s first State sponsored pharmacopoeia).  the Chinese Hawthorn has a LONG history of providing human health benefits in China. 

currently, modern Western medicine is “discovering” its benefits. 
“The fruit is antibacterial, anticholesterolemic, cardiotonic, hypotensive, stomachic, vasodilator.  it contains several medically active constituents including flavonoids and organic acids…[and] been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels and to improve blood circulation” (Plants For A Future).
and a NIH study found that, “the main phenolic component in all…[Crataegus pinnatifida] samples was salvianolic acid B, which exhibited strong antioxidant activity…compared with the other phenolic compounds.”  its critical to know that natural phenolic compounds play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment.

the Chinese Hawthorn, Crataegus pinnatifida grows as easily as “Mayhaw” (Hawthorn), Crataegus aestivalis & Crataegus opaca. HOWEVER, Crataegus can be affected by “rust” (eg, Cedar-apple rust).

why Hawthorn fruit is not in your grocery store: i’m not sure.  the fruit may need to be processed into a juice or other food item before consumers are willing to buy it.  I’ve reached out to the Louisiana Mayhaw Association for more information (July 2020).

3. Exotic fruit, Sweet Scarlet Goumi, Elaeagnus multiflora

the HIGHLY nutritional fruit tastes like cherry.  Scientific studies have confirmed the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, anticancer, antimicrobial, antidiabetic, anti-fatigue, and alleviating properties of E. multiflora. 

we grow the Sweet Scarlet and Tillamook (Elaeagnus multiflora) cultivars.  the Red Gem Goumi is other good cultivar. 

i listed 15 reasons why the Goumi Berry plant is as perfect as a fruiting plant can be.

Goumi fruit is rich in vitamins, minerals and is a good source of essential fatty acids (which is unusual for a fruit).  the fruit is rich bio-active compounds:  carotenoids, polyphenolic and flavanoids.  it’s being investigated as a food that is capable of reducing the incidence of cancer.  the leaves are used in the treatment of coughs.  the fruit is prescribed in the treatment of watery diarrhoea.  the root is astringent, a decoction is used to treat itch and foul sores (Plants For A Future).

Elaeagnus (Goumi) plants are versatile, attractive and “nitrogen fixing” shrubs.  they can be planted as a hedge, tolerates a wide range of soil and conditions, and almost entirely pest and disease free.  screw the fruit — plant the Goumi! 😉

Sweet Scarlet berries and Tillamook berries are similar, and are nutritional.

why Goumi fruit is not in your grocery store:  they need to be eaten fresh.  Goumi berry do NOT keep more than three days outside the fridge, and they do not store well in the fridge :(.   also, the fruit is not easily harvested by machines; picking the fruit yourself is easy but picking large amounts at scale is not feasible.

Twelve (12) "exotic fruit" that are EASY to grow BUT rarely seen in stores

Monoculture vs. Polyculture

this is an involved topic with political & social nuances beyond HEPPY­™.  we’re exploring the topic to learn more.  it is not a black & white subject.  so let’s think through monoculture vs. polyculture.

HEPPY advocates win-win outcomes, and values both forms of agriculture.  both forms of ag’ have risks and benefits, costs and benefits.  most importantly, YOU have choices — certainly in Western Culture.  so be informed, and make choices.  in other words, be an active consumer.

thought exercise:   agriculture has and will evolve as we evolve.  ag’ is as inter-connected to us as is everything else. 
so, could it be true that polyculture provided the essential diversity that allowed city-states to develop (nutritional, biological, economic diversity)?  then, monoculture evolved to support industrialization?  monoculture provided the calories for human grow and expansion?  and now, integrating more polyculture is optimal for human health?  is polyculture now optimal for adapting to rapid environmental change?  

leadership?:  could monoculture’s inherent risks — that could be catastrophic — exist because of poor governance and NOT not because farmers and industries are overly efficient or greedy?  is ag’ policy and ag’ subsidies an issue?   if diversity is critical to financial health, then should diversity be an agricultural principal within policy & politics (governance). 
HEPPY suspects that the lack of diversity in large agricultural production is a governance issue.   essentially, legislators may not have the ?balls to steer us away from looming issues.  


defining monoculture

“Mono” means “one.”  in agriculture it means growing a single plant or livestock species at the same time and place.  industrial or organic farming practices may be used in monoculture.

crop rotation may occur.  however, the US Department of Agriculture makes a distinction:  “Monoculture…[is] where the same crop is planted for 3 consecutive years.”   Bottom-line:  one crop at a time

types of monoculture crops

219 million acres are dedicated to corn, soybean and wheat (USDA/NASS, June 30, 2020).  cotton is often mentioned as a monoculture crop.  but cotton is grown on 12 million acres.

types of monoculture crops:  corn (92 mil acres); soybean (83 mil. acres); wheat (44 mil acres); cotton (12 mil acres).  231 million acres between these four crops.

USDA data is confusing but one source shows about 400 million TOTAL acres of “Total cropland” in 2017 (see Table 1, (USDA/NASS, 2017 Census of Agriculture).  so, a little more than 50% of all cropland is for four crops.

what does monoculture do for us?

monoculture is super efficient and most profitable.  the most bang-for-the-buck.

there’s economies of scale.  imagine making the exact same shirt (or, only corn) — same shirt size, same shirt color, same…everything.  consequently, less equipment is needed and supplies are purchased at larger volume.  all this decreases the cost of ‘inputs.’

so the crop is less expensive to grow, and less expensive for the consumer.  

Monoculture agriculture practice that grows a single crop
Monoculture means growing one crop at a time

monoculture and exotic fruits and vegetables

US food production starts at the farm.  in turn, farm crops (production) are integrated with a food production chain (distribution and processing).  so, the food production chain is tailored to process the few, specific monoculture crops (corn, soybean, wheat and cotton).  

US ag’ practices are designed to grow, process and distribute mass quantities of a few crops.  exotic fruits and vegetables are NOT unusual.  they are not part of monoculture production and food production chain.  consequently, these exotic foods are not in grocery stores. 

monoculture risks

placing all your eggs in one basket is the most efficient way to carry eggs but it has a risk.  you may loose your eggs if something happens to the basket.  that age-old phrase says it all.  

almost 200 years ago, the Irish Potato Famine killed about one million Irish.  why?  a fungus, Phytophthora infestans found ideal weather conditions and one variety of the potato (the “Irish Lumper”).  three-quarters of the crop was killed over the next seven years.  

today, the key risks with monoculture is the reliance on few crops derived from largely the same variety of each crop.  for example, almost all the corn grown in the US is Dent corn (Zea mays var. indentata).   what’s the economic or health shock if the one crop fails?

pesticide and fertilizer usage is part of the risk equation.  “…industrial monoculture predisposes farms to pest problems. To keep up with intensified production, farmers increased pesticide and fertilizer usage, crop density, and the number of crop cycles per season, but decreased crop diversity (Crowder & Jabbour, 2014).”

Exotic fruit are grown in Polyculture agriculture practice that grows multiple crops at the same time and place
Picture by Queens County Farm Museum, queensfarm.org

an example of polyculture decreasing risk
Panama: Cocoa growers protecting the jungle

i don’t know how scalable this is but this story from Panama is amazing.  what the business owner does — for herself, for community and all of us — is sustainability at it’s best. 

for better or worse, she makes the choice to NOT maximize short-term profit; however, for like-minded people she exemplifies “the possible,” sustainability AND financial and professional success.  and that has value!
on YouTube, from DW News (Deutsche Welle, Germany’s international broadcaster).


defining polyculture

“Poly” means “many.”  in agriculture it means growing many plants or livestock species at the same time and place. 

polyculture is sorta normal.  balanced.  polyculture is reflected in your local forest.  there’s a mix. 

defining polyculture

polyculture is how you grow it, not what you grow (corn, soybean, etc) .  a scan on the internet finds terms such as Strip Cropping (the pic on the left is an example of Strip Cropping).  Intercropping, Cover Cropping and Permaculture are other examples of polyculture ag’ practice.

in the short-run, polyculture ag’ practice may not appear as efficient as monoculture.  costs are higher to produce food through the food production chain.  but how does human health factor into “costs?”

human health and polyculture
(and a diversified food production chain)

there’s a long and potent argument to be made that polyculture improves human health.  so if long-run health benefits are factored into “costs”, is polyculture less efficient?
polyculture provides a variety of fruits, vegetable and meat with micronutrients.  micronutrients are vitamins and minerals that are vital to healthy development, disease prevention, and wellbeingnutritional foods improve human health in at least ten different ways.lyculture improves environmental health. maximizing the health of bees alone is one ‘potent’ example (I truly hope you know the indisputable benefits of the honey bee.  at best, monoculture crops do not benefit honey bees; at worst, monoculture crops have a destructive impact on them).

polyculture risks

polyculture ‘spreads risk.’   not all eggs are in one basket.  if one crop fails, another crop is simultaneously available to off-set the failure of the first crop. 

production cost may increase but polyculture ag’ practice is insurance against crop failure.  that has value (eg, the Irish Potato Famine).  
polyculture would require more equipment in the food production chain.  but that’s opportunity & jobs!

and what about transportation costs and stimulating local economies? wouldn’t polyculture (“locally grown”) decrease transportation costs and increase ‘spend’ in local economies?  

Conclusion: Monoculture vs. Polyculture

agricultural practices may be in a renaissance.  for example, Maryland small-scale farmers are now diversifying their crop products.  and they supply consumers directly.   also, ‘polyculture lite’, for lack of a better term, departs from monoculturism.  

multiple cropping, intercropping and crop rotation are successful forms of polyculture.  polyculture supports better nutrient and soil utilization, stable yields, higher crop resistance to plant pests, and more.  at the end-of-the day, “mixing it up” a little is better than not.

however, the power of monoculture is undeniable.  and it’s likely that many people are alive today simply because of the massive production of calories produced by corn, soybean and wheat.  its success cannot be negated.  but all smart business people, parents, legislatures — people — make adjustments if they see a problem.  the risk of monoculture corps can be, and should be, addressed.  

part of HEPPY’s mission is empower individual and entities by highlighting how simple changes improve quality of life.  grow and eat nutritious food; enjoy physical exercise and nature; be creative and inventive by learning new things; and now the financial value of self-sustainability.

How to Grow Exotic fruits in your zone

Exotic fruit associations, farmers, individuals, and industries

these are active associations, farmers, individuals, and commercial industries producing ‘exotic fruit’ products.  they produce the trees, knowledge, beneficial fresh fruits, and/or container foods.  they produce exotic fruit products.

I’m bias to the Pawpaw so it’s listed first 😉

Pawpaw Growers Association

the Ohio Pawpaw Growers Association is one of my favorite groups.  we ‘hold the line’ on the exotic fruit that GROWS EVERYWHERE ;).  now, how truly exotic is the fruiting tree if it grows everywhere?;).   Pawpaw’s scientific name is, Asimina triloba.

Pawpaw Tree by Neal Peterson

this Gentleman’s story is amazing.  this scientist-farmer took a common but forgotten fruit and developed an amazing group of Pawpaw cultivars (exotic fruit products).  his work exhibits all the positive qualities of an exceptional researcher and entrepreneur.

Pawpaw at Kentucky State University

Kentucky State University (KYU) has the only full-time pawpaw research program in the world.  they help you grow Pawpaw trees and market your Pawpaw ‘exotic’ fruit products.   pawpaw yield data or just an 2min vid introducing the pawpaw?  KYU’s website is rich in quality content.  and there are videos on  vimeo and youtube.

Aronia Berry (Chokeberry) Services of Northeast Iowa

i found this ‘exotic’ fruit early on.  the Chokeberry, Aronia melanocarpa.  the value of this shrub and fruit are so strong it’s referred to as a ‘super fruit’ in terms of its benefits to human health.   “…aronia has more antioxidant power than other fruits including grapes, elderberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, blackberries, prunes, cherries, bananas, oranges, apples and pears.”   
Aronia Berry Services of Northeast Iowa provides a well written and long list of the Aronia Berry’s health benefits.  
and to the spirit of this webpage, note how all this started.  an Iowa farmer listening to a radio program, then becoming curious, researching the Net, and having entrepreneurial fortitude.  “We decided to plant all 10 acres. Not knowing for sure what we were getting ourselves into or how hard it would be to plant the berries we decided that we would do a trial run and plant a couple of acres (approximately 2500 plants) by hand.” 
you can support these amazing farmers by buying Aronia Berry products.

Aronia Berry (Chokeberry) Midwest Aronia Association

The Midwest Aronia Association (MAA) began unofficially in 2008, in SW Iowa, and thanks to Iowa State University Extension personnel networking persons interested in growing Aronia Berry (Chokeberry).
MAA is a non-profit with the sole purpose is to investigate, improve, and promote all aspects of aronia growing. 

Beach Plum Production And Marketing

i discovered the Beach Plum (Prunus maritima) when researching plum trees native to North America (NA).  Richard Uva is to Beach Plum what Neal Peterson is to Pawpaw IN TERMS OF reviving knowledge of a fruiting tree growing under-foot.
the many native NA plums species are highly adaptive and resilient.  fruit production is one element (poly on ploy, if that makes sense). 
back to Beach Plums:  Dr. Uva and Cornell University have collaborated and offer online resources so you can learn more.  and a list of collaborating individuals, universities and producers (and their Beach Plum products) is here.  this document is a great primer to Beach Plum Production and Marketing.
HEPPY grows the American Plum (Prunus americana) and Mexican Plum (Prunus mexicana). The Chickasaw Plum (Prunus angustifolia) will be planted soon.

Che tree:  NO ONE?!

like, one of the easiest trees to grow, growing from zone 5 to subtropical regions, and produces an awesome tasty fruit.  the tree’s leaves are soft and attractive; some cultivars grow more upright (~no more than~ 15-20′) where as other cultivars will branch quite low to the ground (within 4′).  totally drought and pest tolerant.  Cudrania tricuspidata (the Che tree) is fascinating and should be well-known.  
i believe no bird netting is needed before harvesting the sweet red fruit.  Che fruit matures between Pawpaw and Persimmon.

Elderberry: Midwest Elderberry Cooperative

i found the Midwest Elderberry Cooperative (MEC) while performing research on Elderberry.  super outdated website :/ BUT the MEC is producing a lot of quality information (website, youtube, etc) to promote Elderberry!  farming, products, marketing, and other methods and ‘things’ are offered by the MEC to stimulate the Elderberry industry in the States! 

Missouri’s River Hills Harvest is another group I keep an eye on for all things Elderberry.  Christopher Patton (MEC) and Terry Durham (River Hills Harvest) produced very easy-to-understand information online for harvesting Elderberry.  

Hawthorns: the Louisiana Mayhaw Association

the Mayhaw is a Hawthorn berry; Hawthorns (Crataegus) products are very popular in Europe and China.  some varieties of Hawthorns have a long history in European and Chinese folk medicine, particularly as a heart tonic.  medicinally, the English Hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata) and Oneseed Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) is used in Europe.   the Chinese Hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida) used in China.
science has shown that Hawthorn Berry has favorable therapeutic effects on the cardiovascular, digestive, and endocrine systems, with studies proving that Salvianolic acid B is the main bioactive compound. 
so the Louisiana Mayhaw Association (LMA) leads mayhaw growers in all states.  they network growers, and provide promotion and education for the production of high quality mayhaw trees, fruit and to further develop markets through research and marketing procedures.  there are two types of Mayhaw: the Western Mayhaw (Crataegus opaca) and the Eastern Mayhaw (Crataegus aestivalis).

Kiwi much?  Hardy Kiwi, from California to Maine

hint — they’re not fuzzy.  they’re a smooth-skinned Kiwi fruit that’s larger than the largest grape, grows a little like clusters-of-grape, and tastes exactly like Kiwi.  eat them, skin and all.  and yup, like a true HEPPY™ plant, it requires very little maintenance (except that it grows crazy-fast), is a prolific producer, very tolerant to heat and cold, and is disease-free.
obviously, the Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta) is an ‘exotic’ and ‘unusual’ fruit, right (apologies but the sarcasm IS intended).  
the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association provides an excellent write-up on the Hardy Kiwi (my webpage is forthcoming ;).  we grow them, and love them here at HEPPY).
i now see Hardy Kiwi in places like Costco; however, there’s some important things to know about the Hardy Kiwi.  they require a pollinator and ~all~ but one variety takes 3-5 years to fruit.  ours took three years (the female flowered in year 2 but the male flowered year 3).  
deer love the plant but birds leave the fruit alone.  it’s biggest drawback is that they grow VIGOROUSLY.  these girls don’t play.  to keep control, pruning every ~6-8 weeks concentrates growth.

Kiwi much?  Growing FUZZY Kiwis

these ARE fuzzy — the fuzzy kiwi, Actinidia deliciosa!  fuzzy kiwi recipes, health &nutrition, retail and industry information and reports, the California Kiwifruit Commission built a quality website.  
in general, fuzzy kiwi grow from from zone 7 southward.  they are found in large grocery stores but rarely grown in backyards!  it’s a lovely vine with velvety hairs (“fuzzy”) on its stems, leaves and fruit.  the flowers, leaves and fruit are larger than it’s northern cousin, the Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta).
easy to grow, low low maintenance, they do require a male AND female Fuzzy Kiwi (Actinidia deliciosa).  the male Hardy Kiwi (Actinidia arguta) does NOT pollinate the female fuzzy, Actinidia deliciosa (and vice versa).  the Fuzzy Kiwi requires less pruning than the Hardy Kiwi.
like our Hardy Kiwis, our Fuzzies took three years to bear fruit (the female flowered in year 2 but the male flowered year 3).  

Elderberry is not found in grocery stores

Exotic fruit plants research using these TRUSTED websites

the Internet provides us with both, great information and noise.  SEO on steroids drives many corporate commercial entities to focus on click-through rates.  content is secondary (if you can read the content between the ads ;).   

research these TRUSTED sites and see how bountiful & common exotic fruiting plants are!

US Department of Agriculture's PLANTS Database

i love this site.  search using the “Name Search” field (upper left corner) by selecting the “Scientific Name” or “Common Name.”  when you land on the plant’s page, look for a pdf file under General Information.  the often provide a Plant Guide and a Fact Sheet.  usually two pages each, it provides excellent information.

Missouri Botanical Garden

“To discover and share knowledge about plants and their environment in order to preserve and enrich life” is there mission.  this database is a rich and concise source of information.  use their Search textbox, top right corner of their homepage.

Native American Ethnobotany

Native American Ethnobotany provides incredible information on how plants where used by specific Native American tribes.  i search based on a plants scientific name.  for example, search on “Callicarpa americana” will assure i find information for the American Beautyberry.  

Plants For A Future

Plants For A Future is also a rich site.  what i appreciate is their citation when describing a plant’s Medicinal Uses.  use their Search textbox, top right corner of their homepage.  

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center provides is a North America, Native Plants Database.  i don’t use the cite as often as the prior three websites, and my favorite field book, are incredibly rich.


that’s right — me / we / us!!!  the HEPPY Plants Page is always growing.  Search our plants.  click on a link and read super content-rich information

youtube and video other sources

professional farmers and seasoned gardeners can spot ‘funky’ online content.  the “look at me” YouTubers showing orchestrated gardening and their ‘self-sustaining’ BS is click bait and is easy to spot. 

spot BS gardening content like this:

IF you see a 100% weed free garden and walkways, a table or basket showing tons of blemish-free fresh fruit and/or veggys … that are not wilted AND, each variety of fruit or veggy is exactly the same size

THEN it’s set-up and orchestrated for the camera.
the fruit and/or veggies are from a retailer (same size and blemish free) and from the fridge (can’t harvest a wide variety without this occurring).  organic gardening doesn’t look like that 😉  the food production chain creates blemish-free, uniform products before consumers see it.

FOR EXAMPLE: we farmed 27 acres of Avocado.   the fruit were separated and graded by a “packing house” (Calavo Growers).  Calavo was the distributor who all Avocado farmers sold to.  different prices were paid for each grade and type-of-fruit (Haas, Zutano, Fuerte, etc. cultivars).  each grade was separated by blemish / not blemished — blemished fruit is never sold retail.  but blemished Avocado fruit was normal (occurring when the fruit rubs a branch for the months they develop; a fruit totally exposed to sun will have another sort of blemish).  these blemishes were skin-deep — the fruit was fine.  but certainty NOT fine for the grocery store and consumer.
all fruit and vegetables go through the same process:  blemish / not blemished are separated; fruit is separated by size.

Twelve exotic fruit trees for zone 7

Nurseries that sell exotic fruit trees, shrubs and other edible plants!

a REVISED LIST of nurseries is here.

we’ve purchased from about 30 nurseries that specialize in edible fruiting plants.   i’ve spent about $10,000.00 buying edible fruiting plants.  along the way i learned a few things 😉

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Edible Landscaping

Edible Landscaping is the first nursery i purchased plants from.  they have a walkable garden.  you can see and taste exotic fruit right off super mature fruit trees.  it was a great way for me to learn.  i was instantly hooked on creating edible landscaping by … edible landscaping.  their staff is exceptionally knowledgeable and friendly.  here’s their facebook page.

parking is tight and they have a huge following.  so if you visit them, i recommend doing it on off days / off hours if possible (like, Tue-Thur).

England's Orchard & Nursery

England’s Orchard & Nursery is owned-operated by a terrific family.  they could not have been more hospitable.  thankfully Cliff had time to show me a few things.  it was an enjoyable day. 

reliable knowledge, great prices, massive number of trees, and responsive.  can’t ask for more than that.  here’s their facebook page.

Growers Exchange

need Herbs?  well, then check-out Growers Exchange.  it’s another small, family-owned business.  they have a large selection of Herbs.

the pots are rather small BUT it’s plenty of plant to get Herbs growing and then, propagating!  we’ve purchased 95% of our Herbs from Growers Exchange.

Missouri Wild Flowers Nursery

Missouri Wildflowers Nursery is one of the first nurseries i visited.  a friendly chap took me around and i purchased several plants for HEPPY.  it was my ‘early’ days and one take-away i have is buy larger-sized plants!  HEPPY is frugal but some plants grow slow.  so buy a larger plant-size!    My purchased Beautyberry and the Rusty Black Haw have size not but geez, it took then awhile.  here’s their facebook page.

Natives of Texas

Natives of Texas is owned-operated by Dr. J David Winningham (“Dave”).  what a beautiful space he has.  Dave’s story is fascinating and online — check it out.  nurseryman is his retirement work.

it’s the ONLY nursery i found selling the Texas Mulberry (Morus microphylla).   also, he sells a fascinating array of Passion Fruit (Passion Flower) vines, and the Texas Persimmon (Diospyros texana).  These and other trees (Soapberry) are NOT easy to find for sale.  i purchased several garden plants ‘on the fly’, not entirely sure how they’d fit into HEPPY.  check-out my vid:  24 Edible Plants and Garden Plants Review.

One Green World

One Green World stands out as a large supplier.  HEPPY has purchased from them online.  they’re in Washington State. 

a little pricy and now, during the pandemic, their inventory seems depleted.  but they have a very well maintained website with reliable information.   and, they have a big selection to study (albeit, many are out of stock).  so PLEASE go to these other family-owned nurseries.

Restoring Eden

i was thrilled to find Restoring Eden.  in many ways they mirror One Green World (a compliment), but i’ve purchased larger plants at a lower cost from them.   HEPPY has purchased from them online.  they’re in Washington State. 

you won’t always find certain plant details, like zone or species name.  you many have to do a little more research.  BUT i’ve received high quality plants, shipped quick, and they’re a small business.   so PLEASE go to this and other family-owned nurseries.

Whitman Farms

i found Whitman Farms via Growing Fruit’s gardening blog site.  Whitman Farms began informally in 1980.  It was / is a one-woman show.  Lucile Whitman is that woman and she was out ahead with gardening edible plants.

in particular, Whitman Farms has a large selection of Mulberry trees, currants, and Ginkgo trees.  they have MANY other plants that produce fruit, and other tress.   PLEASE go to this and other family-owned nurseries.

Willis Orchard Company

Willis Orchard is also owned-operated by a family.  i was passing through when i picked-up my order.  so, i wasn’t able to walk the nursery.  but the trees i purchased were EXCELLENT specimens.  check-out my vid:  24 Edible Plants and Garden Plants Review.

again, great prices, massive number of trees, and responsive.   here’s their facebook page.

Other quality sources for Exotic Fruit plants

Growing Fruit’s Nurseries list
Growing Fruit has a HUGE list of nurseries.  they even excluded nurseries with low reputations!  Garden Watchdog is where you find reputations.  Growing Fruit is a blogging site with incredible gardeners!  

Craigslist?  Really?  😉 
i found a local gent on Craigslist who had awesome-big Chaste Trees, Lavender plants and, he showed my the Butterfly Bush which i also purchased.  my point:  backyard enthusiasts are everywhere and can add edible and garden plants to your collection!  be careful but CL can be an option.

Pawpaw festivals
Pawpaw festivals are fun!  all sorts of vendors are there.  we purchased our Bay Laurel (Bay Leaf Tree), Valerian, Licorice Flag, Anise Hyssop (i l.o.v.e. this plant), and more from vendors at the Ohio Pawpaw Festival!  go small-business!!  here’s a HEPPY list of Pawpaw Festivals!

big-box stores
Lowes, Walmart and other big-box stores have plants.  i’ve purchased about 10 of our 200 plants from a big-box store.  however, i recommend spending the same amount of money (except for shipping) and patronize family-owned small business nurseries.

oh, and p.l.e.a.s.e. subscribe to our YouTube channel 😉