What’s happening this year in the world of Damsons? Here are some key events and dates:
Saturday 17th – Wassail Day in Crook in Cumbria’s Lyth Valley – enjoy Damson cake & beer made from damsons from the tree you dance, drink and sing around to promote its fertility.
January to March – best time to plant out young damson trees
Damson harvest time in New Zealand; and the time for Ume Matsuri (plum blossom festivals) in Japan.
Kendal Festival of Food 7th-8th March
April – damson blossom time
Damson Day Country Fair, at Low Farm, Crosthwaite LA8 8DJ in the Lyth Valley near Kendal. Saturday 11th April.
Blossoming Brockhampton at the National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate in Worcs [no 2015 dates yet].
Hanami Festival of fruit tree blossom at Kent’s Brogdale National Fruit Collection near Faversham, Saturday 11th April. Plus Hanami Picnics throughout April.
June-July – best time to prune damson trees (if indeed you need to)
Shrewsbury Food Festival 27th-28th June.
Pershore Plum Festival – the Worcestershire town goes Plum Crazy during August with plum events that turn the town purple.
[No dates yet for a 2015 Plum Day at Brogdale Farm, home of the National Fruit Collection, near Faversham, Kent.]
Late August/September/early October
Damsons become ripe for picking, and are on sale from the garden gate, in greengrocers and street markets. Make and bake – damson jam, damson cheese, damson gin, damson crumble, damson chutney, etc.
All Things Damson at the National Trust’s Brockhampton Estate [no 2015 dates yet]
Damson Days in Ludlow – two-week celebration of the Shropshire Prune variety [no 2015 dates yet]
Medieval Damson Fayre in Market Drayton (more fayre than damsons! 27th September in 2014)
Ludlow Food Festival 11th-13th September
Taste Cumbria food festival in Cockermouth, end of September
Decant the damson gin/vodka/brandy/whisky you made in August/September/October, strain and pour into bottles. Give as Christmas presents, save some for yourself. Get creative with the leftover boozy damsons!