Category Archives: Damson-Related Sites

A collection of sites that contain damson-rich content.

Calling Damson Cooks, Both Amateur and Pro: A Damson Competition for You

The ‘Damson Days 2014’ Damson Competition

A damson competition rounds off ‘Damson Days 2014’.  The competition is open to both amateur (home) cooks and professionals.

damsons galore
What Could You Do With These Damsons?

The theme is ‘anything damson‘, which means that you can enter anything from a traditional damson recipe to an avant garde damson recipe. And also, your entry could be your favourite damson jam or jelly or gin. Or vodka. Or your favourite damson chutney or curd or mincemeat. Or damson chocolate truffles; they work well too.

Damson liver parfait with damson brioche? That spectacular dish won the prize in our previous damson competition. What you enter really is down to your imagination.

A Stash of Just-Picked Damsons: Ripe With Possibilities.
A Stash of Just-Picked Damsons: Ripe With Possibilities.

What You Need to do to Take Part

Bring your damson competition entry to the Ludlow Local Produce market on Thursday, 9th October 2014 by 10am. Label your entry with:

  • your name and contact details
  • the category you are entering (amateur or pro)
  • the name of your dish
  • the ingredients in your dish

The competition entries will be judged between 10am and 12 noon. The winners of both categories will be announced, and the prizes awarded, at 12 noon.

You’d be mad not to take part because there’s no point in hiding your damson light under a bushel.

Entry is free.

Here is a summary of the key points:

  • the competition is open to amateur and pro cooks/chefs
  • the theme is ‘damson anything’, which literally means what it says
  • bring your entry to the Ludlow Local Produce Market on Thursday 9th of October by 10am
  • winners are announced on the day at 12 noon
  • prizes are awarded shortly after 12 noon


Turn Your Labour of Love into Something Damson Delicious.
Turn Your Labour of Love into Something Damson Delicious.

Damson Syrup: The Philosopher of Syrups

Damsons make a fine fruit syrup. It’s the philosopher of fruit syrups: it’s deep.

To make a damson syrup you take some damsons, extract the juice and cook that juice with sugar.

By regulating the temperature at which you cook the damson and sugar mix you can produce a thin or thick syrup. The higher the temperature, the thicker the syrup, and so the more viscous it is, obviously. And the more viscous it is, the more it will cling to, for example, vanilla or nut ice-cream, duck, venison or anything else you would like to glaze with the rich flavour of damson.

Damson Syrup Made With the Shropshire Prune Variety.
Damson Syrup Made With My Very Own Shropshire Prune Variety of Damson.

Announcing Damson Days 2014

Here you will find information about Damson Days 2014.

This post is updated regularly, so please check again for updates.

You can read about:

  • the dates for Damson Days 2014
  • events at the launch event at the Ludlow Local Produce Market, including the chefs’ demos and the damson competition
  • the catering and food retail venues that are taking part

When and Where Damson Days 2014 is Taking Place

If you’re a damson afficionado, or even if you’re not, you’ll know that damsons are a true autumn fruit.

It’s apt, therefore, to celebrate these lovely blue-black bombs of flavoursome fruits in the autumn time.

So, in Ludlow, the unofficial capital of Shropshire, we’re holding a two-week celebration of the Shropshire Prune variety of damson.

Damson Days 2014 will take place between September 25th and October 9th, the midst of damson picking season.

The Shropshire Prune, as its name suggests, has a deep historical and socio-economic resonance with Shropshire. In fact, the Shropshire Prune goes back a long, long way — most likely as far back as when the Romans ruled. We’re pretty sure that the Romans brought the damson we know as the Shropshire Prune into (what we now call) the UK.

But don’t worry if you don’t know what variety of damson you’ve got in your garden because other damson varieties are more than welcome to the party too!

Here is a notice of the damson celebration.

Celebration of damsons in 2014 in Shropshire image

Information About the Launch Event

The fortnight of damson celebration kicks off at the Ludlow Local Produce Market on Thursday, 25th of September. Come along to:

  • get recipe ideas for what to do with your damson glut
  • taste damsons, if you’ve never tasted them before
  • watch professional chefs cook with damsons
  • enter your damson product(s) in a damson competition
  • find out more about the variety of damson you have growing in your garden
  • taste a range of delicious sweet, savoury and tipsy damson products from local artisan producers
  • find out more about the history and cultural significance of the Shropshire Prune variety of damson
  • learn about why the Shropshire Prune damson is the only damson in the Slow Food Ark of Taste
  • taste a variety of both sweet and savoury damson dishes in eating venues in and around the Ludlow area

Sweet and Savoury Damson Demonstrations, Including Damson (Sour)Doughs

Two local chefs as well as a local artisan baker will be cooking or providing sensationally delicious damson dishes at the Damson Days launch event on Thursday, 25th of September.

These three damson gurus are:

  • Robert Swift, artisan baker, from Richard C. Swift Ltd and owner of Bread2Bake. Robert will be showcasing baked goods made with damsons.
  • Chef Andy Link, Head Chef at The Riverside Inn, Aymestery, Herefordshire. Andy will be making a savoury damson dish.
  • Chef Nathan Eades, owner of Epi Restaurant in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Nathan will be making a sweet damson dish.

Here is a little more information about each of these food pros to whet your appetite for damsons.

Artisan Baker Robert Swift

Robert Swift is a #realbread nut. A sixth-generation baker, Robert has a flair for incorporating local, seasonal ingredients into his breads and sweet dough products. As well as running Ludlow-based, masterclasses on bread making, Robert has written a book on bread, Born and Bread. His book comfortably straddles the “bread nerd”vs “stress-free baker” fence. It reveals the secrets of the gluten framework, and shows how to make a range of delicious sweet and savoury bread products in a down-to-earth way.

For Damson Days 2014 Robert is developing baked damson specialties including a sourdough based on fermented damsons.

Photo of the baker Robert Swift Standing beside his bread oven.
Robert Swift, Real Bread Maker of Swift’s Bakery in Shropshire.

Chef Andy Link

Chef Andy Link is not just Head Chef at the Riverside Inn at Aymestrey, he’s also a forager, a fruit grower and preserver, a vegetable grower and a bee keeper.


Chef Andy Link doing a demo at the Shopdon Food Festival 2014. Photo courtesy of the Riverside Inn's Facebook page.
Chef Andy Link doing a demo at the Shobdon Food Festival 2014. Photo courtesy of the Riverside Inn’s Facebook page.

Andy won Herefordshire Young Chef of the Year 2007 and pays meticulous attention to sourcing local ingredients. For example, he uses damsons from the trees in the orchard of the Riverside Inn to make a range of damson and other fruit preserves.

Image of bottles of fruit liqueurs made by Chef Andy Link at the Aymestrey Inn, Herefordshire
Local, Seasonal Fruit Liqueurs, from The Riverside Inn’s orchard. Photo courtesy The Riverside Inn’s Facebook page.

Chef Nathan Eades

Previously a chef in Ludlow, Nathan Eades has opened his own restaurant, Epi, in Bromsgrove. Nathan Eades’ culinary passion can be summed up in four words: flavour, wild food, technique.  Typically, Nathan will take seemingly banal, overlooked or forgotten ingredients like bronze fennel, chickweed, meadowsweet, nettles and, it has to be said, damsons, and use a touch of molecular gastronomy technique to coax out their distinctive and unique flavour. A couple of years ago Nathan, along with his colleague Chef David Jarram, made a dessert of sweet damson sushi and a raviolo of bittersweet chocolate ganache infused with Earl Grey tea.

Sweet Damson Sushi and a Raviolo of Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache with Earl Gray, Made by Chefs Nathan Eades and David Jarram
Sweet Damson Sushi and a Raviolo of Bittersweet Chocolate Ganache with Earl Grey. Made by Chefs Nathan Eades and David Jarram for the Ludlow Slow Food Taste Workshops.

Nathan is bringing his forager, Mike Wilkes, along for his sweet damson demo. Sweet damson treats await!


Eating Venues With Damson Dishes on the Menu and Retail Outlets Selling Damson Products During Damson Days 2014

Name of VenueContact DetailsDamson DishPhoto of Venue
The Cliffe at Dinham,
Restaurant with Rooms
Tel: 01584-872063
Damson Ripple Fool with Hazelnut Shortbread

Damson fool in a white china pot with hazelnut shortbread biscuits on the side.
Damson Ripple Fool With Hazelnut Shortbread
photo of the dining area in The Cliffe at Dinham, Ludlow
One of the Dining Areas in The Cliffe at Dinham, Restaurant With Rooms
The Green CafeMill on the Green
Tel: 01584-879872

Chef's Own Damson Vodka
Home Made Scones with Damson Jam
Photo showing the front of the Green Cafe, Ludlow
The Green Cafe, Ludlow
The Ludlow Brewing CompanyThe Railway Shed
Station Drive
Tel: 01584-873291
The Ludlow Brewing Company Will Serve an Award-Winning Damson and Apple Drink
photo showing Damson and Apple Drink at a Farmers' Market
Damson and Apple Drink, a Refreshing Non-Alcoholic Drink
image of the brewery at the Ludlow Brewing Co, Shropshire
The Ludlow Brewing Co, Ludlow
Ludlow Food CentreBromfield
image showing a spoon in a pot of damson yoghurt
Shropshire Prune Damson Yoghurt Made by Dudley and Paul with Damsons from the Ludlow Food Centre's Own Orchard.
Image showing the large glass-clad entrance to the Ludlow Food Centre
The Entrance to the Ludlow Food Centre
Chang Thai Bar and Restaurant3 Market Street
Tel: 01584-874212
Damson Dessert
photo showing the entrance to Chang Thai in Ludlow
The 'Coachway' Entrance to Chang Thai Restaurant, Ludlow
Thai dishes at Chang Thai, Ludlow
Some of the Dishes Served at Chang Thai, Ludlow
The Boot InnKitchen Hill road,
Tel: 01568-780228
Chef Martin Humphries, The Boot Inn, Orleton, Picking Shropshire Prune Damsons From the Boot's own Garden.
Image of damson crumble, damson parfait and damson Eaton mess
The Boot Inn Will Serve a Damson Trio: Damson and Apple Eton Mess, Iced Damson Parfait, Damson, White Chocolate and Roasted Macadamia Nut Crumble
The Olive Branch, Licensed Wholefood Restaurant and Coffee House2/4 Old St.
The Olive Branch will Serve Home Made Pork and Herb Terrine Platter with two Seasonal Salads, Local Bread, and The Olive Branch Homemade Damson Chutney
a crate of small plums known as damsons
Local Produce for Local People! Shropshire Prunes for Sale at the Market in Ludlow and Used in The Olive Branch Damson Chutney
the front of The Olive Branch in Ludlow
The Olive Branch, Ludlow
Harp Lane Deli
4 Church St
FB HarpLane
Damson Cheese and Other Damson Delights Prepared by Owners Hannah and Henry

Hannah and Henry Mackley, Owners of Harp Lane Deli, Ludlow. Damson Fanatics Both.
photo showing the exterior of Harp Lane Deli in Ludlow
Harp Lane Deli, Ludlow
Ludlow Pantry10 High St.
Ludlow Pantry Will Serve Cream Teas with Damson Jam
photo showing the food and drink products for sale at the Ludlow Pantry
The Array of Local Food and Drink Available at the Ludlow Pantry
photo showing the exterior of the Ludlow Pantry
The Ludlow Pantry
Baker's of Tower StreetTower St.
Baker's of Tower Street Will Serve a Homemade Damson Dish
photo showing the front of Baker's of Tower Street, Ludlow, Shropshire
Baker's of Tower Street, Ludlow. Photo Courtesy of Baker's of Tower Street Website.
The Entrance to Baker's of Tower Street, Ludlow.
Ludlow KitchenBromfield
Ludlow Kitchen Will Serve Two Damson Dishes: Stewed Damsons With Granola and Damson Cream Teas
damson jam, Rodda's clotted cream, scones and tea at the Ludlow Kitchen
Ludlow Kitchen's Damson Cream Tea: Shropshire Prune Damson Jam, Rodda's Clotted Cream, Home Made Scones and Your Choice of Tea
photo showing the outside of the Ludlow Kitchen in Shropshire
The Ludlow Kitchen
Old Downton LodgeDownton on the Rock
Old Downton Lodge Will Serve a Damson Dessert of Peanut Parfait, Brioche, Downton Damson Sorbet and Downton Damson Gel
Peanut Parfait, Brioche and Downton Damson Sorbet and Damson Gel. Photo courtesy of Head Chef Karl Martin.
The Dining Room at Old Downton Lodge, Near Ludlow

So, put these two weeks in your diary and please check back here for updates on Damson Days 2014.


Photo of damsons growing on the tree
Shropshire Prune damsons in early July 2014.


Damsons ripening and turning purple.
Shropshire Prune damsons in early August 2014.
Photo of indigo coloured Shropshire Prune damsons
The Shropshire Prune ripens through the middle of September into the middle of October: it is a genuine autumn fruit.




Damson Chat: Grower Stanley Yapp and Wholesaler Stuart Ward

This short video features the inimitable Stanley Yapp, grower of damsons for many decades, and damson wholesaler,  Stuart Ward.

It is a feast for the eyes and the ears.

And it features the Shropshire Prune variety of damson.

The video was shot in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, a renowned damson growing area.

Damson-Related Sites

1. The most comprehemsive, and up-to-date compendium on damsons — Guide to Damsons — is available to download, free, from Daiv’s site:

2. The Friends of the Coalbrookdale Arboretum are volunteers who are renovating an arboretum in which the National Damson Collection is planted:

3. The digital home of the Lake District damson is The Westmorland Damson Association:

4. England in Particular site; includes damson information as well as where to buy  apples and orchard produce:

5. Jenny Dean experiments with damsons for dyeing, and provides photos of the results:

6. A Ludlow-based plant expert who specialises in difficult-to-find plant, trees and shrubs, and who has given talks on the damson tree at the Marches Damson Days is PlantFinder Jenny. Jenny worked for the nursery that developed the Merryweather variety of damson. This is her website:

7. Slow Food Ludlow Marches has organised two Marches Damson Days: has moved

Hello damson lover, and welcome to all things damson.

For a little time I hosted the Shropshire Prune Damson website  on a lovely blogging platform called Posterous. Long story short, Posterous was snaffled by Twitter who eventually shut the platform down. This means I’ve had to find a new digital home for the Shropshire Prune.

So I’ve switched to arguably the best blogging platform in the world — WordPress, which is where you are now.

Picking Shropshire Prunes in September: Big Vessel for a Big Crop
Picking Shropshire Prunes in September: Big Vessel for a Big Crop

I’m  in the process of transferring the content from the old site to this new site. So please be patient as it will take some time.

This new home for the Shropshire Prune will contain loads of excellent damson stuff including:

  • links to damson recipes
  • links to damson food and drink producers
  • where to buy damson products
  • where to buy damsons
  • help with identifying  the variety of damson tree you’ve got
  • where to buy a damson tree
  • how to care for a damson tree
  • information about the Slow Food Ludlow Marches Shropshire Prune Damson project
Shropshire Prunes Ripening, 13th September 2013
Shropshire Prunes Ripening, 13th September 2013

Subscribe now to this site and I’ll keep you updated with the latest damson news.  I’ll also post about both traditional and avant garde ideas for cooking with damsons.

Yours fruitfully,

Catherine Moran