Plum scrum expected this summer as bad weather impacts British harvest

photo shows: Last year's Plum Princess
Saturday 25th August 2018Pershore Plum Festival, Pershore

British plums will be harder to find this year, especially the iconic Victoria plums, and it’s all down to the extreme weather faced by farmers in 2019. Plums are one of the most weather-dependant crops grown in the UK and the late frosts followed by a continued dry spell, then a deluge of rain and hail has wreaked havoc with the fruit.

Organisers of the UK Plum Festival held annually in Pershore, Angela Tidmarsh of Wychavon District Council, commented:

“We noticed how few plum trees were flowering when we ran our popular blossom trail coach tours earlier this year. The Plum Festival runs throughout August with growers and orchard owners promising to provide us with all the plums they can.”

A reasonable crop of Czars, the first plums to appear, is expected, but varieties like the Yellow Egg Plum and the Pershore Purples will be in shorter supply. Last year there was a glut of Victoria plums but this year they’re going to be more of a rarity.

More than 30,000 people turn out for Pershore Plum Festival’s annual Bank Holiday weekend finale. The month-long event features a race night at Worcester Race Course on July 30th, a plum festival bike night and the town’s shops take part in a window dressing competition.

Various report reveal that in 1913 according to the then Board of Agriculture, 17,000 acres of land were devoted to the growing of plums in this country, England accounting for 16, 418 of them. Worcester with 3815 acres, Kent with 3269 acres and Cambridge with 1577 acres. Middlesex, Bucks, and Gloucester just about accounted for the rest.

The Victoria plum tree owed its popularity to its very heavy cropping and excellent flavour.  The plums are delicious when cooked and make great jam. They outsell any other plum tree and the upright trees are easily identified.