Our record-setting wet spring has led to a bumper crop of sand hill plums this year. Yay! Last year we saw late freezes destroy plum flowers and wind storms blow ripe plums from the trees as we kept an eye on the plum thickets around the farm. Luckily we managed to harvest just enough last year to make a limited run of jam. This year, we’re almost halfway through plum picking and we’ve already made one batch of jam and shared a couple gallon bags with one of our favorite chefs in Kansas City.
We just LOVE foraging. We’ve found new plum thickets this year we didn’t even know existed and the kids enjoy plucking those low-hanging fruits. Our best thickets are small, short patches away from the bottoms and trees that provide cover for deer. Deer love sand hill plums, but they’re not brave enough to travel across a large open pasture to get some. In years past, it was a race to get the ripe fruits before the deer in wooded areas. The deer always got their fair share.
In addition to plums, the dewberries are ripe for the picking. Dewberries are a native plant and grow in a surprising number of places here on the farm. Dewberries are like small blackberries. The fruits are smaller and the vine only grows up to a foot or two off the ground. Nonetheless, they are excellent in jam or a fresh cobbler. Yum!