Wild Crabs and Runaways

Crab Apple


What an amazing harvest this year, ‘bushelfuls’ of apples and some very big ripe pears too! Our apple masher and press has been put to very good use, the record probably achieved at a busy Blairgowrie Market with over 350 litres of juice produced. Many people are noticing that a mix of cookers and eaters makes the best juice, the extra acidity giving it a wow factor.

The William’s pear tree opposite the cross roads at Caputh was hanging with beautiful ripe yellow pears just last week. Glad to see someone has picked them now. And many a pear on a south facing wall have done well this year.

However, our heritage pears in Scotland can often be like little bullets for weeks, then suddenly go soft in the middle! Very different to shop bought pears. You need to keep testing them and get them on the right day.

The warm weather in May really got our fruit expanding well, my James Grieves and many others being a good size and colour this year. Despite the wet weather in August, scab lesions have been relatively low this year.

Here at Middlebank we have hardly been able to keep up with the falling fruit….and many have rolled down the hill to the delight of our neighbours! There are disadvantages to planting trees on a hill! Also our Worcester Pearmain has been underplanted with various perenials and roses, all making collecting windfalls impossible. So the lesson is, plant your trees in your lawn ideally!

Budding percentages were very high last August, resulting in a very good crop of trees for sale this winter. And they have continued to grow in the warm summer, so feel free to come and inspect before ordering, though some popular varieties are now almost sold out.

Foraging ( and scrumping) has been very rewarding this season too, ranging from Seaweeds from Saltcoats, Mirabelles from Murthly and Birch Boletes from Birnam….. but note we only take a few for our own use. We saw a forager waltz off to a local chef with what he thought was a basket of Chanterelles in Dunkeld, and no protest from Margaret could dissuade him otherwise of his catch! Beware a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous! We have avoided the local hotels as a consequence!

My favourite little Crab Apple high up on Birnam Hill was fabulous in flower, but alas produced a poor crop of crabs. I have saved a few from the voles, and intend to sow them for replanting somewhere wild in a few years!

Happy foraging and harvesting all!