Autumn has drawn in the days and the early morning sloe picking is cool and damp. Accompanied by some curious locals we have picked 150lbs of sloes from the nearby lanes.
It's an incredible spot with handful after handful of violet bloomed sloes. So the especially muddy condition of the path, and the extra pricklishness of these particular bushes is well worth it for the hoard gained.
We also have 250lbs of sweet and fragrant Lyth Valley damsons picked from the young trees in theorchard at Park End Farm, so the freezers are full to the lids and next year's sloe and damson gin supplies are assured.
In honour of the blue blush, the ferocious thorns, the tart and tenacious sloe — a recipe from fabulous British independent gin makers Sipsmith
The Sloe Gin Spritz
35ml Sloe Gin
25ml Lillet Blanc
20ml lemon juice
15ml sugar syrup
3 drops plum bitters
3 drops orange bitters
Pour all the ingredients except the wine into a large wine glass with plenty of ice and top up with sparkling wine. Garnish with a twist of lemon.