This week we began to harvest our apricots, jostaberries, and redcurrants. Our apricot trees, planted in our Forest Garden, are varieties that do well in northern Europe – namely Flavourcot, Tomcot and Orange Summer. It’s the first of these that has had a bumper crop this year, also our most mature tree. These new cultivars have been bred to flower later than traditional varieties and therefore usually escape the late frosts that so often blight apricots in the UK.
The last time our Flavourcot had a decent crop was in 2015 and unfortunately for us, a canny member of the community reaped that harvest before we could get to it! This time the tree has grown so large that a ladder was required to pick most of the fruit. Luckily also we had the perfect piece of kit: a Japanese tripod ladder from UK supplier Niwaki purchased with our Groundwork Treasured Spaces funding some years ago. These ladders are brilliant – made of aluminium they are very light – easily carried under one arm – but also because they are tripods they are very sturdy, with an baility to get very close to whtever you are picking or clipping. Highly recommended.
Jostaberries (Ribes x nidigrolaria) are a complex cross between gooseberries, blackcurrants and the North American black gooseberry. They can be eaten raw – tasting like a slightly sweet gooseberry – or cooked which brings out the blackcurrant flavour more. as they’re thornless they are easier to pick than gooseberries and are also more disease-resistant than many other Ribes varieties. We grow them near our meeting space inside the community garden.