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Farmers Markets : Caroline Wright 1 August 2009
11:14am Monday 3rd August 2009 in Features
NOW that August is here we are in the middle of the glorious plum season, when this fabulously versatile fruit hangs heavy from the branches and you can fill your shopping baskets with the very best local produce at your Worcestershire farmers’ market.
Today sees the crowning of the plum princess at the start of the annual Pershore Plum Festival, but there are plenty of other plum-related activities going on across the county all month. You will find your favourite farmers’ market stallholders at the Pershore plum festival market on August Bank Holiday Monday.
When buying plums, most shoppers head for the standard Victoria variety, which is fine as these are tasty in their own right. However, there are lots of other varieties available such as Heron, Prolific, Pershore Yellow Egg, Purple Pershore and many more. All of these are worth searching out as each has a distinct flavour of its own. You will find some at your local farmers’ market, while others will be on stalls in the plum festival.
Plums are a great fruit just to eat as they come, but are also delicious in desserts and pies.
Roger Styan, of Styan Family Produce, said: “Worcestershire is the home of plum growing.
We’ve got five varieties this week, including Prolific, which is Evesham’s favourite. They are small, black, round and delicious. We also have the Czar plum, named after a Russian czar who visited the area in the 1870s, it is soft and juicy with a hint of melon. We have the Opal, a recent variety which is very tasty, and the Heron, a reddish brown plum with a taste of peach.
“These old varieties are very popular locally and we have a good crop of them this year – but wholesale traders are only interested in Victoria plums.
This is a shame as it means a lot of people don’t get to try these great varieties. We know from 20 years’ experience that people really enjoy the flavour of ripe plums picked from the tree, which is what you’ll get from your farmers’ market. Plums in your supermarket will have been picked well before they are ripe so they won’t have had time to develop such good flavour.”
Today’s farmers’ market is in Victoria Square, Droitwich, from 9am until 2pm, while tomorrow’s market is at Royal Worcester Porcelain, from 10am until 2pm.
Next week’s market is in Bromsgrove High Street, from 9am until 5pm. For details about farmers’ markets, go to wfmg.co.uk.