Look back in Damson : 2018

Celebrations, new publications & products

For more info on stuff below, go to Google!


The long-running Damson Day Country Fair in April, Damson blossom time, in Cumbria’s Lyth Valley continued, with a merry array of food, drink, activities, music and dancing. Next year’s date has been set for Saturday 13 April 2019.

England’s other major Damson celebration, Damson Harvest, invites visitors throughout September to the National Trust’s Brockhamton Estate in Worcestershire, where the PYO opportunities in the splendid Damson orchard are a particular delight.

In a wider celebration of the plum, Pershore’s annual Plum Festival paints the town purple each August. Its promoters have now set up August 11 as National Plum Day.

It’s pleasing to see new initiatives such as the Damson Sunday festival in September in and around a community-run pub at Holbrook, near Belper in Derbyshire.


Get the books!

The first proper book about Damsons was published in June, followed by the second in November!

Damsons : an ancient fruit in the modern kitchen by American academic  Sarah Conrad-Guthrie is quite a small, slim paperback that packs a botanical, historical and geographical overview alongside 60 pages of recipes.

Out now in New Zealand is Damson : from hedgerow to harvest, a  a 256-page, 55,486 word, 75+ recipe-long love letter to the heirloom English damson plum by gardening broadcaster and writer Lynda Hallinan.

Expect reviews here shortly!


Drinking Damsons

Despite the ever-rising range of other fruity flavoured gins etc popping up on shop shelves, Damsons keep on featuring in new beverages. New (to me anyway!) in 2018 were

Coxys Kent Liqueur  : Spiced Damson Shrub – non-alcoholic fruit, cider & vinegar cocktail syrup

Magic Rock Sour Damson IPA beer from Huddersfield

Badger Beers Cranborne Poacher from Dorset

Spirit of Ilmington Damson Gin from Warwickshire

Riverside Damson Gin from Warrington

Copper Rivet Distillery Dockyard Cantia Damson wine with Gin from Kent

Boyles Irish Sloe & Damson Gin Liqueur

Isaac Road Brewing Damson & Gin from York (at 44 The Shambles)

Salcombe Gin’s Guiding Star limited edition Sloe & Damson Gin

Heavenly Hedgerows Damson Liqueur from between Bristol and Bath

Constantine Damson Gin from Cornwall

Ramsbury Distillery limited edition Damson Vodka Liqueur from Wiltshire

One Tree limited edition (only 40 bottles!) Damson Gin from a single tree by Mothers Ruin

Fordington Gin Christmas Cheer Gin from Dorset

Addingham Damson Gin Liqueur from West Yorkshire

Marks & Spencer Sparkling Plum, Damson & Juniper Pressé

Art In The Age Black Walnut & Damson Cordial from Philadelphia’s Tamworth Distillery


Food featuring Damsons – new (to me!) this year

Lillypuds Plum Pudding with Damson Gin from Chelmsford

Damson Fruit Cheese from Claire’s Handmade in Wigton, Cumbria

Cartmell Farm Foods Damson Ketchup and Chilii & Damson Ketchup from Cumbria

Old Dover Road Heritage Damson Jam from Blackheath, London

Hubble Kea Plum Jam from Cornwall (almost Damsons!)

Lancashire Cheese & Damson Jelly Parcels (12 for £7) – hand-wrapped filo pastry parcels filled with traditional Lancashire cheese and Hawkshead Relish damson jelly, from Northern supermarket Booths


Right – now to get that Damson Gin decanted and the boozy Damsons chopped into chocolates!

Keeeeeep Damsoning!

23 December 2018