Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Allotment vs Foraging # 2

You may remember my recent bleat about the lack of allotment produce we were getting compared to the amount of free fruit we merely rock up and pick with no input on our part at all. Fortunately, our Autumn crops are now coming into their own and beginning to redress the balance. Our pumpkins are picked and have been stored on our old, coverless mini greenhouse frame in the garage, the borlotti beans are ready, the sweetcorn is mostly ripe, cavollo nero is ready to eat, leeks are ready (and have been a revelation, so sweet and fragrant), rainbow chard still going strong and the courgettes are still producing marrows (please, God, let them stop soon!) Oh and the runner beans we now detest are busting out all over in the cooler Autumn weather, I have to confess they're going straight on the compost heap at the moment.

So the allotment brings it's score back up, but foraging fought back with our new discovery - the wild Quince tree. You may recall that last year we lost the wild Japonica Quince which grew right by our house. It caused some distress at the time but our new discovery is even better because it's a traditional Quince tree with the larger, yellow fruit so they're less fiddly to work with and you get more flesh per peel if you see what I mean.

My slightly guilty secret is that the location of this tree is truly exceptional. I would love to blog it but when it comes to foraging discretion is the better part of valour so I'll save that post til I'm in my dotage and the foraging is all behind me. We visited the site at the weekend and came back with (wait for it ......) 25 kilos of Quinces! (what is the correct plural by the way, Quince or Quinces?) Have to admit I felt a bit guilty taking so much in case we've stumbled on someone else's treasured foraging spot, however, we did leave loads of fruit on the tree plus we'll probably give quite a lot away as I'm not sure even I can process 25 kilos so it's not all for us.

So - foraging staged a strong comeback. The main advantage of foraging is the lack of effort on our part. No stress, no pruning, watering or molly coddling the crops. No dealing with local householders raising a petition against our sheds, no fly tipping from said householders and no vandalising of the marker pegs we spent an afternoon measuring out ......

These veggies had better be bloody tasty to make up for the hassle.


  1. You can leave runner beans to grow on - they end up much like borlotti beans...I dried loads last winter, have grown them again this year for this reason alone - I'm not a fan of stringy runner beans either!

  2. Gosh - that 'hassle' sounds awful. Hard to believe people can really be that petty! We had a veg patch when the kids were little and my abiding memory is the courgettes taking over the world!

  3. Thanks CG - I may try that (though the children 'helpfully' picked loads yesterday)

    Yes, the 'hassle' has been a nightmare and I've only written about the tip of the iceberg, there's lots of other stuff I've been discrete about as the internet's a big place .....

  4. Well it looks like a wonderful tree...can't quite tell the location from the photo were very crafty with that shot!!

    As for the hardwork of the allotment...I think it all makes the taste so much better and lets face can forage plenty of fruit but when do you ever see wild veggies growing???!!

  5. Well you say that, but some people get into stuff like fat hen, alexanders, ground elder etc which can be used as veggies. Plus there's the mushrooms and we're about to get into nut season (hazlenuts and walnuts locally)

    I do love the allotment though, it gives me a choice about what to grow rather than being opportunistic. The hassle factor has been ridiculous though!

  6. Hi, I wonder if you would be prepared to sell me some. My mum wants to make some quince jelly. I could drive to you or meet you half way. Ian, Hindringham, Norfolk