Have been out and about inspecting the mistletoe crop for 2009/10.
Looking mainly in apple orchards, as usual. In the north Worcestershire orchards I am, inevitably, distracted by the prolific crop on the damson trees in the adjoining hedgerows. Damsons are very characteristic of this area, and it's a good year for them – lots of them and very sweet. A very under-rated fruit. Every garden should have a damson tree.
I spend a long time sampling damsons and forgetting mistletoe. But today I am unprepared for damsons – and only have 2 small containers with me. If can resist eating the contents of these whilst driving home down the M5 we might even get some damson jam this year.
Today was really about assessing a few orchards for later this season, and collecting some fresh mistletoe to send to various clients, advertisers and photographers who are preparing Christmas publicity. These include TV programmes and interior design magazines as well as straightforward mistletoe retailers*.
Loads of berries again this year, but they're still not quite ripe. So instead of getting those pearlescent white berries so characteristic of Christmas, all these early publicity shots have to make do with pale green berries.
*(By the way, the mistletoe retailers I work with, TEME Mistletoe, are due to go live online for the new season this week – so the season really has begun now…).