Ethical Sustainable Small Batch Craft Spirits
Posted on March 20 2023,
I’m sure many of us are familiar with the term ‘Blackberrying’ and the strange behaviours that goes with it.
You know, that late summer emergence of hedge-hugging folk spotted at the sides of country lanes, clothes ripped, red staining around their mouths and on their fingers that clasp tightly to a well seasoned plastic ice cream punnet! The kind of experience that leaves you scratching your head in disbelief as to what you just witnessed, as you drive by.
Blackberries are a delicious fruit that grow on a somewhat less inviting and forager-unfriendly plant, commonly known as bramble. Less affectionately known as other names by the less dexterous pickers among us! However, each part of this plant (including the thorns) has a wonderful role to play in benefitting wildlife and people.
It’s intertwining nature and thorny disposition makes it an ideal safe haven for nesting birds to raise young and also makes for a protective roost site and a thorny cover for other species away from the reaches of predators.
The flowers produced by the Bramble are alive with the buzz of pollinating species such as honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies. And it goes without saying that the berries are rather popular with a vast array of species, including our own.
The leaf of the bramble is often overlooked and underrated, likely due to the other bounties that this plant has to offer. We often only think of trees when it comes to leaves providing cover but a decent size bramble bush can provide excellent protection from the elements for many different species. The Bramble Leaf Miner Moth specialises in this plant as it’s larvae literally mine into the leaves as they feed and spend the winter months within the leaf and emerge to pupate in the spring. You may have seen those interesting squiggles on the leaves before and wondered what they were!?
For us here at Meadow Oak Distillery, it is the leaf that we are most interested in. Not for mining, but as an important ingredient that goes into our gin. Blackberry leaf, along with Rowan Berry and Elderberry, is a botanical that contributes a fruity note to Heartwood of Oak Moor Meadow gin.
When harvesting, it is the fresh, new, spring leaves that are gathered. So no moths were harmed during the making of this gin! 😂