Kea Plum

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What are my special features?

Kea Plums are only found in a single valley in Cornwall, located just off the Fal Estuary. They are a clingstone fruit with red skins and a green/yellow coloured flesh.

The Kea Plum is similar in size to damsons and too sharp to eat fresh, the plums are loaded with pectin making them ideal for jam-making. There are four distinctive varieties of the plum. The Red Kea Plum is the earliest with availability expected from 10th August to 24th August while the Black Kea Plums make up the main harvest from around 21st August. The plum has been put forward for PDO status.

What is my history?

The Kea plum takes its name from the Cornish village of Kea and can grow in orchards as well as on the beach, where it is not affected by the salt-laden rain and south-westerly winds. Historically the Kea plum has represented an important contribution to the livings of the villagers of Kea, Coombe, Cowlands and other Fal villages. They were taken by boat to Truro and sold at the farm-gate stalls around the estuary system. If sugar was available, the plums were often combined with windfall apples and made into a common or garden jam.

For years the only access to the Fal estuary was via the river and the plums have only been accessible by road for the last 60 years.

The plums are not picked in the conventional way but are instead gathered from a series of ‘shakes’. Four shakes are usually required to harvest the best plums, the first shake is discarded.

Why am I forgotten?

The production and consumption of the Kea Plum is very localised and operates on a small scale.

Don’t lose me… cook me!

Product Category:

Fruit

Area of Production:

Cornwall

Slow Food UK contact:

arkoftaste@slowfood.org.uk

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