LIGHTNING RELEASE 05/31/14 –Damson tree sales rise 24% year on year as public love-affair with traditional fruits grows- ‘Blue Violet’ is aptly named as this is a truly beautiful new Damson with a shiny brilliant deep blue-purple skin. It’s fruits are larger than traditional Damsons, which means less of them are needed to provide the most delicious jams, preserves, pies and crumbles. Another major attraction is the higher levels of sugar.
“Traditional Damsons are very tart, and are usually used in recipes that demand a lot of sugar. But this new variety means the more health conscious can use them without the need for so much sugar” says John Bowers, M.D of the Chris Bowers Fruit Tree Nursery. “This huge revival in home baking has undoubtedly had a knock-on effect with Damsons as recipes that use this ancient fruit are being uncovered. Damson jam just has to be the most vividly tasty jam of all, and once you’ve tried Damson crumble you will never use a humble plum again! And you just have to try Damson muffins – out of this world!” he adds.
Damsons – steeped in local history & tradition
Damson growing dates back to the 1700’s and they were particularly popular in Cumbria and the North. It was quickly realised that the Damson was more frost hardy than it’s close relative, the plum, hence this popularity in colder counties. Happily they will thrive further south too but even here, for gardens that may have an unfavourable aspect, or lie in a frost pocket, the Damson is a great choice to grow.
Jam factories producing solely Damson jam were plentiful in the Lancaster area at around that time and legend has it the beautiful dusky purple skin and juice of the Damson fruits were used to dye soldiers uniforms.
The popularity of Damsons declined between the wars, as sugar became difficult to obtain. But even in 2014 there is still an annual ‘Damson Day’ held each year.
New Damson is a tree for small gardens too
‘Blue Violet’ is ideal for todays modern gardens. It has been grafted onto a special small rootstock called ‘Pixy’ which is very compact. Blue Violet Damson trees can be happily contained in smaller gardens, or even a pot.
“You can expect these trees to mature to just 180-200cm’s, less in a 20” container” John says. “They have a dense, twiggy habit that is easy to accommodate.” What’s more the trees are self-pollinating which tends to ensure a great set, and of course the trees are very, very frost hardy. A low maintenance tree that can happily get even novice gardeners excited about growing their own antique Damsons.
Trees of Blue Violet on Pixy stock are available now in pots @ £22.95 each from Chris Bowers Fruit Trees.
High res image available.