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Wild Fruit

August 6, 2013

I live on an estate called Perton just outside Wolverhampton. It prefers to be called a village rather than an estate but in reality an estate is what it is.

Built in the 1980s on an disused airfield Perton must be one of the last large developments to have large areas of open spaces,  lakes and streams. The walks around the village are amazing but when I moved here six years ago I was even more surprised to see a large the amount of fruit of all types that grows here.

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For the past month I have been enjoying cherries every day. Gorgeous black and red cherries with that slight tartness of an English cherry  which bear no relation to the tired, ultra sweet versions which are available in the supermarket. But why on earth do so few people pick them? When I speak to them the answers range from, ‘I have never noticed them,’ to ‘I didn’t know you could eat them.’ Not only do they taste a million times better than supermarket cherries but the pleasure you  get from the picking far surpasses the pleasure of picking a punnet of cherries off the supermarket shelf.

The latest additions to the wild fruit range at Perton are mushrooms. Ah, the smell of a field mushroom, picked first thing in the morning with the dew on it. Yesterday I picked a bowl full and you know that tomorrow there will be more.

Soon there will be the damsons, blackberries, apples and  very strange pears called Tettenhall Dicks. They are as hard as granite, but delicious cooked with a little sugar. And I bet I will be the only one scooping them up and enjoying them. Then there will be crab apples which will make a fabulous crab apple jelly (if you don’t want the jelly as a jam then save the juice and make a pudding jelly.)

One should be able to enjoy the hazel nuts, too, but most are consumed by the grey squirrel.

Happy foraging!

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7 Comments
  1. Urszula Halldron permalink

    Hi, just read your article. Where in Perton do I walk to pick the fruit? I live in Wolverhampton.

    • Hi Urszula, Just walk around and look for whatever fruit is seasonal. At the moment there are apples, crab apples in abundance and blackberries of course. They are paricularly good this year. Later there will be damsons near the playing fields. The cherries were not abundant this year, they are near the big lake. Hazel nuts are good if you can beat the squirrels, too. Enjoy!

      • Urszula Halldron permalink

        Hi Jane, Thank you for your reply. I live not too far from Himley and have been picking blackberries for the last two weeks and making lots of jam. There are some damson trees but the council have cut a lot down and the ones that are left are too high up the trees to reach. I know where Perton is but have no idea of the best places to go around there for picking fruit. I get some strange looks when I am out foraging, just seems like the most natural thing to do and all free. I will have a ride over to Perton in the next couple of weeks.

  2. Good for you making jam. Yes I get strange looks too and comments like – uh, I wouldn’t eat that, can you eat that, are those really mushrooms, I have never noticed those cherries – can you eat them? When I say most are fine but some are poisonous but you know because when you put them in your mouth they are bitter and you just spit them out, it guarantees they will never take the risk!
    Right, if you go to the bus stop by Leasowes Drive you will see a big apples tree overhanging the fence. It is laden, ideally take a walking stick to hook the branches down. Masses of them, Worcesters I think.
    Ask where the playing fields are and around the edges are damson trees. Some get picked, most don’t. Dippons Lane for crab apples and the woods at the back of the Pear and Partridge for a huge old pear tree. It is alongside the path going straight through the woods and it is a cooking pear as hard as bullets until cooked but there is only one so it is probably not worth the effort of looking for. Councils love cutting down, don’t they? This year they cut down two plum trees. I don’t think they knew what they were. I rang up and complained but it didn’t stop them trimming the lower branches of the apple tree I have mentioned when the tree had just blossomed. Unbelievable. Give a man a chainsaw and he isn’t safe. Have fun!

    • Urszula Halldron permalink

      Thank you so much for the information it helps a lot. We go to France at the end of August. Is there anything ready to pick in the next 2 weeks? I think its a bit early for damsons.

      We went blackberry picking last night so more jam making today. Just a shame the council cant leave the hedges and trees alone until after the fruit season is over, I am sure they do it on purpose to spoil every ones enjoyment.

  3. No, nothing in the next 2 weeks but damsons will hopefully be ready for you on your return. Have a great holiday!

    • Urszula Halldron permalink

      Thank you, will let you know when we have been picking and thank you for your replies its much appreciated.

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