Weather sparks Denbigh plums shortage ahead of festival

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Image caption,
This tree was full of plums this time last year, but now there is just a single one hanging from a branch

Plum enthusiasts fighting for protected status for the Vale of Clwyd's best known fruit say they fear a shortage.

The Denbigh Plum Group say the extreme weather has stemmed the growth of the fruit ahead of its 10th annual festival.

It is a crucial year for the group because they hope to secure European status for the fruit before Brexit.

"It's one of the best tasting plums you will ever have," said secretary of the group, Nia Williams.

The sweet tasting fruit has been linked to the area for hundreds of years, giving a long history with residents.

"People like to hear the story of the Denbigh plum because its goes back to 1785 and has a long history in this area," Ms Williams said.

"It was grown throughout the Vale of Clwyd and, of course, it tastes so good."

Image caption,
Sectary of the Denbigh Plum Group Nia Williams said the weather had hampered the growth of the much-loved fruit

But, due to the recent heatwave and the Beast from the East in March, fewer plums have grown, leaving festival organisers concerned about the upcoming event.

"People may have some plum trees in their gardens which they are not using, and rather than letting them go to waste, if they could let us come and pick them, we could use them in the festival.

"So many people now are interested in heritage food. It tastes so much better if you eat plums when they are fresh, local and haven't had to travel that far."

Protected Welsh foods

  • Caerphilly Cheese
  • Traditional Welsh Cider and Traditional Welsh Perry
  • Welsh pork
  • Welsh beef
  • Welsh lamb
  • Welsh wine
  • Laverbread
  • Conwy mussels
  • West Wales coracle caught salmon
  • West Wales Coracle-Caught Sewin
  • Anglesey sea salt/Halen Mon
  • Pembrokeshire early potatoes

The fruit are used in all sorts of products, including alcohol.

Beer brewer Alyn Ashworth says he hopes the Denbigh plum, which he uses in his produce, will secure its long awaited protected delicacy status by the EU alongside the likes of Welsh lamb and beef, laverbread and Anglesey sea salt.

"It's impossible to describe the taste," he said.

Image caption,
The plums are used to make different types of alcohol
Image caption,
The plums are used in all sorts of baked goods

"We've been very fortunate because we've found just enough but it has been a struggle.

"Going forward, we hope, when the plum will become more common in the area, it will become comparable with champagne or Parma ham."

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