Tag Archives: Shropshire Prune

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 Trees are Brittle: Here’s a Video Demonstration

Damson trees are brittle; it's an unfortunate distinguishing characteristic of this fruit tree.

You could have a bough that’s loaded with damsons and then, in an instant, and for no obvious reason, the bough shears away from the ‘mother trunk’.

A load of your crop is lost and your tree is denuded.

The wound caused may open the tree to disease.

This short video shows the aftermath of such damson tree brittleness. It captures a large bough that had a good crop of damsons on it that now lies on the ground after splitting from the tree.

Lots of fruit lost, for sure.

Tempremental trees? Probably.

What can you do to preempt their brittle nature? One suggestion is to prune judiciously so boughs don’t get so heavy with fruit that they break.



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.