Dittisham Ploughman Plum
The Dittisham Ploughman Plum (Prunus domestica) has an incredibly short season, lasting no more than ten days. This occurs early to mid August. It ranges from medium to large sized and is an oval-oblong shape.
It has red fruit not unlike a roundish Victoria or a Fluegal Plum. The flesh is juicy and lends itself well to making an excellent jam. It has a rich sweet taste and a smell reminiscent of honey and grapes.
The Plum grows in Dittisham, a village on the banks of the River Dart, South Devon, and is believed to have been unique to village for several hundred years. The plum was only ever grown in the area, and indeed is named after it. People from surrounding areas used to flock to Dittisham during the season to taste this fleeting and delicious.
The exact origins of the Plum are seemingly a mystery. One potential theory is that they have their basis in the German “Pflaummen Baum” Plum, and trees bought from Germany by monks in the middle ages. A contrasting theory is that the plums arrived by sea either dumped in the village by a sea captain unable to sell his cargo or washed up the River Dart from a wreck, salvaged and planted by villagers. The entry in H.V. Taylor’s classic “The Plums of England “(1949 edition) describes the plums thus; “Origin unknown. Trees raised from suckers, not budded or grafted, free stone without almond flavour”. Given the inability of even the great H.V Taylor to discern which myth was accurate, it seems that the exact origin is a mystery.
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