Mazzard, my liege?

Mazzard at Harford, near Landkey

I’d never heard of a Mazzard until Ian asked me to have a look at them, but it turns out I should have done. They are edible varieties of wild cherry, historically particularly associated with the Southwest and currently undergoing a revival in North Devon. They are really beautiful, large trees which would look lovely in a mixed orchard and which all but disappeared in the 20th century. I spoke to the authority on them, Michael Gee, and subsequently bought his booklet, which finishes with a description of the Landkey Millenium Green project – a really lovely story. More than that, though, it has put these ancient and handsome trees back on the map. The varieties propagated for the project were those identified from existing local trees; Bottler, Dun, Greenstem Black, Hannaford, and Small Black. I wonder if I could squeeze a couple in somewhere…
Word of their renaissance is spreading. I bumped into another interesting chap, Stuart Peachey, who runs a business called Historical Management Associates Ltd. Among other things, Stuart will recreate a medieval feast for you and to this end grows all sorts of historic fruit for complete authenticity, including Mazzards. Fantastic.
Picture courtesy of Charles Waldron & Explore North Devon Project