A very big shout to our dub-wise gardening friend Haji Mike in Cyprus for this piece which we received the other day after enquiring about what gives gardening-wise over there at the moment, interesting stuff.
Winter in Cyprus is usually known for citrus fruits, oranges, lemons, grapefruit (a little later). tangerines, pomelo and many more.
Googling the term ‘Shekkerika’ the other day I was stunned to find just four fairly irrelevant search results. Shekkerika (plural) of Shekkeriko is a very small orange that fits in your hand with a powerfully sweet aromatic taste that is unique to Cyprus. We have one in our garden that thanks to my long time friend Aydin and her pruning skills, has developed from a scrawny little thing to a medium sized tree baring lots of fruit.
My philosophy on this, one shekkeriko a day keeps the doctor away, but two or three will significantly increase your sugar levels! Its truly a lovely fruit just bursting with flavour. Mέσπιλα – Mespila does not as far as I know have a translation into English from Greek. Its an aromatic fruit, cooling and juicy which ripens in spring. It may be puzzling why I am talking about it on New Years Day 2017. Mespila have a really unusual flower which you can only see if you get really close up. They flower in clusters and the wasps and bees are busily doing the cross pollination thing today, no rest for the hard working meek. The fruit is also easy to grow from seed. Usually its hard to reach the higher fruits when they ripen, so after the birds have had their feast, seeds drop to the ground, and grow nearby.
The tree is really well suited to the Mediterranean climate, long hot summers and rain in winter (if we are lucky). You could always spot a Cypriot house in the UK with a Mespilo tree in the front garden, although I must confess, I can never remember eating the fruit fresh from the streets of London where I grew up. More power to the workers…big up the bees and wasps…
Thanks to Mike for the piece. He’s got some new music out soon (with Kingdom Signal out of Corsica), available here on the Haji Mike/Kingdom Signal bandcamp (more info here too!) Have a listen as it’s good stuff, we’re loving “Dubbing the Martians” at the moment.