Late spring is one of our favourite times of the year for many reasons, but not least because the elders come into flower. We spend weeks anticipating their arrival by keeping an eye on trees on our land & in hedgerows, watching the umbels form & the tiny creamy flowers open.
Unlike golf, gathering elderflowers only adds to a walk in the welcome warmer weather, especially when you inhale the light floral scent from the gathering bags & baskets. Reaching the highest blooms (which always seem to be by far the best) also stretches both our ingenuity and our limbs, perfect on a lovely sunny day. And talking of sunny days, if you’re thinking of gathering elderflowers yourself, we recommend that you wait for a few days of dry weather. Rain washes the natural yeast off the blossom and you may have to add some white wine- or champagne-making yeast for proper fizz.
After pruning our own trees over winter, we’re not expecting a bumper crop from Warren Farm elders, but there are plenty of hedgerow elders that we can turn to. The season is quite short, but some hedgerow trees are in sunny areas & bloom early, whilst others in shady areas are delayed & give us another couple of weeks to gather them. Once you’ve made your first batch of elderflower champagne & bottled it, it’s nice to be able to indulge in the desire to make yet more….