We harvested some more medlars the other day. (I’m very, very fond of this unusual and old-fashioned fruit.) We’d cycled past them many times – a fine crop, high up in a roadside hedge. No-one has showed any interest in them at all, so I decided I’d have them.

Reaching them was going to be the problem. There’s a fairly deep ditch just in front of the hedge and it’s too wide to lean across easily. Whacking fruit out of trees with sticks or branches is too damaging to everything concerned (and everyone, as I know from one painful experience!), so what were we to do?

Luckily we have our berry picker which Chris made a couple of years ago to reach blackberries in awkward places. Ruadhri had first go.

The Chris took over.

The berry picker is made from a length of tough plastic piping. Chris found the instructions for making it here on instructables.com. First he shaped the fingers at the top, and then, warming the piping over a gas flame, bent them forwards. They slip behind the berry or piece of fruit you’re after and ease it off the tree. The fruit rolls down the piping into a plastic bag which you attach to the other end with elastic bands. This bottom end of the pipe has been cut and flared outwards, again using heat, so that the bag doesn’t simply slip off the bottom. Ingenious!

Close up of the picking fingers

Our berry picker was the right size for the medlars, but not quite long enough so we’ll have to make a longer version since there are still a lot of medlars left on our secret tree!

The picker is the perfect size widthwise for medlars