Like glossy red jewels, these sticky little Japanese Wineberries have been a delicious treat in the fruit garden this year. Just one small bush bought for £2 from Barnsley House last year has produced a tremendous crop and we are picking this many every other day at the moment. Not as prolific as raspberries or blackberries but sweet and dainty.
Smaller than a five pence piece and looking just like a tiny raspberry, these are definitely worth some space if there is room to contain their arching prickly stems.
It is difficult to imagine but this is just a small part of the 9.5kg of redcurrants from just one bush! The variety is ‘Rovada’ and it is now 5 years old. It was moved 3 years ago to the new soft fruit area but took the relocation in its stride and fruited perfectly the following year. This year’s harvest, however, is quite exceptional.
I don’t know whether I have finally discovered the right way to prune it or if it’s the weather, the horse manure stacked around it each winter or the regular watering but it seems to get better each year. The slight downside to any soft fruit is the attraction for birds and beasties but redcurrants seem less prone than most. The blackbirds have the odd peck at the lowest branches but prefer the June drop of windfall apples nearby. I probably lose a few to marauding voles and field mice but, on the whole, the harvest remains intact. However, as a precaution and out of habit, I do throw a bit of fleece over it as the fruit ripens just for peace of mind. I do see the occasional rat and the odd squirrel which the dogs haven’t managed to keep at bay……oh yes, and Labradors are partial to soft fruit as well!
Even allowing for these minimal losses, the harvest is enormous and I certainly wouldn’t want more than one bush. I mean to say, what can you do with 9.5kg of redcurrants?! We freeze most of them but we also share them with friends and neighbours and Cathy makes great jam and jelly too. Redcurrant sauce over ice cream is delicious and the chutney is wonderful with cold meat, cheese and lamb burgers.
Overall, I am simply amazed at the bounty just one small bush can produce and sustain. Isn’t nature wonderful!