Berries and beans


Beans good, berries bad. Too much rain in the summer of 2012

This dreadful wet weather is not good for foraging. We tried picking blackberries today on the banks of the River Stour - always a plentiful location and coveniently close to home. Not only were the brambles - normally heaving with lush fruit at this time of the year - relatively sparse in the berry department but what fruit there was tended to be less than impressive. It was also hiding within a mass of stinging nettles that really had thrived in the damp conditions.  We ended up with just enough blackberries to take home and stew with some apples. Delicious though it was, it was not quite what we had hoped for. The plan had been to gather the ingredients for at least a dozen jars of jam. It wasn't to be. What a contrast too with the gorgeous runner beans we got at the Pick-Your-Own at Sopley the other day. The difference between a  carefully cultivated crop and what can happen when plants are left to fend for themselves. The apples by the way came from the garden of one of our former colleagues, Chris Adamson. Chris who is a fine motoring writer but a less than sensational gardener inherited a very productive apple tree when he moved to his house near Hengistbury Head a few years ago. Every August we get a call to say he's got more apples than he knows what to do with, would we like to take as many as we want? It keeps us in chutney and of course Chris and his good lady Pat get a few jars too by way of a thank you. But this year even the apples weren't as plentiful as usual. 

© Jeremy Miles 2020