Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Strawberry Tree

Last week we popped up to the vineyard in Maury to take a soil sample for analysis.  This is quite difficult in itself as there really isn't much soil - just rock.  So whilst the french Mr Jones was using the pick axe to hit soil I was just going to wait in the trusted pick up as it was a bit chilly.  Feeling like I should really be doing something I finally got out and had a look in the hedgerow.

And I am so glad I did as the Strawberry trees (arbousier) were looking amazing and a little like they shouldn't be there with their bright red fruits and delicate white flowers.

This is what the BBc website has to say

"A small, evergreen tree with Lily-of-the-valley type flowers, followed by attractive, vaguely strawberry-like, edible fruits. One of the few members of the erica family that is tolerant of chalk. The Strawberry tree produces white flowers in late autumn. Since the fruits take 12 months to ripen, the tree bears both mature fruits and flowers at the same time, making it incredibly beautiful"

I think the fruits are just strawberry-like to look at as they really don't taste of strawberries - in fact they taste pretty awful straight from the tree.  Here the locals make a fruit jelly or preserve them in alcohol.  Most of mine will probably be eaten off the floor by the wild boar.

Fallen fruit waiting to be munched
The moral of this story is always get out of the car - you never know what is out there.