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Drive-thru harvest first at Pitmedden Garden


By Kyle Ritchie

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Pitmedden Garden near Ellon adapted its annual fruit picking event to offer Scotland’s first drive-thru harvest.

The National Trust for Scotland property was not able to offer its usual entertainment due to current Covid-19 restrictions, however with thousands of apples and pears ready for picking it was able to go ahead with the novel format.

The team at the venue sold approximately 400kg of local produce on Sunday afternoon.

Welcoming 112 cars to the lawn in front of Pitmedden House, which is owned by the conservation charity, bags of home grown fruit were laid out for buyers to pick up and enjoy at home.

Dedicated gardeners tend to the apple and pear trees all year round to offer the best quality produce and with more than 10 varieties of apple, two types of pear and home baking on offer, drivers were spoilt for choice.

In line with Covid-19 safety measures, staff wore appropriate PPE and each purchase was contact-free. Attendees were asked to not leave their car or approach the produce stall by foot.

Bea (12) and Ed Richmond (10) with their haul of fruit. Picture: Rory Raitt
Bea (12) and Ed Richmond (10) with their haul of fruit. Picture: Rory Raitt

The remaining produce is available to buy at Pitmedden Garden, which will be open every Saturday and Sunday from 10.30am - 4.30pm until November 1.

Monique Lanz, visitor services supervisor at Pimedden Garden, said: “Our apple day is the most popular event in our calendar at Pitmedden Garden and we usually welcome thousands of excited apple enthusiasts at this time of year.

"With the produce ready bagged, we were glad to offer a Covid-safe way for the public to enjoy our wonderfully fresh produce.

“Our dedicated gardeners, who have been tending to the apple trees all year round, were glad to see so many cars turn up.

Marion Kolata takes orders from cars at the Pitmedden Garden drive-thru harvest event. Picture: Rory Raitt
Marion Kolata takes orders from cars at the Pitmedden Garden drive-thru harvest event. Picture: Rory Raitt

"They work extremely hard to make sure that Pitmedden Garden’s apple crop is successful and of high quality and that people can enjoy it for years to come.

"We rely on donations and the support of our visitors to be able to run events like this and the support we received at Sunday’s apple event really shows the strength of people supporting their community at an uncertain time.”

Enjoying their apples are Cameron (5) and Jessica Hawkins (7). Picture: Rory Raitt
Enjoying their apples are Cameron (5) and Jessica Hawkins (7). Picture: Rory Raitt

The garden dates back to 1675 when it was originally laid out by Sir Alexander Seton. In the 1950s the trust re-created it based on 17th-century plans of the gardens at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

The walls at Pitmedden Garden are displaying espalier trained apple trees and with an orchard planted in 2014, it is now packed with more than 200 fruit trees.

Visit www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/pitmedden-garden for more on the garden.

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