Harvest Time, Heather Time


a pile of heather flowers, gathered and lying on a wooden board photographed from above

It's that time of the year again where we are asking you to get involved in making Downpour the burst of island flavour that we all know and love by bringing us heather in exchange for gin.

Downpour Scottish Dry Gin owes its delicious taste in no small part to the wild Hebridean heather hand-gathered from around Uist and every batch that we make is labelled with the location of that distillation's heather harvest. 

This year, bring us 1kg of heather flowers (you can keep the foliage!) and you will receive the first bottle from the batch of Downpour made with your heather. Bring us 500g and we'll give you a mini set in return. 

four images in a grid, the first of two sprigs of heather, one open and one still in bud. The second of a tuffet of heather growing in the wild. The third of a metal bowl with bright purple picked flowers inside it. The four a plastic bag of heather flowers with a knot tied in the bag

 The heather can be bell, ling, or a combination of both, but please make sure you are picking the flowers and not the leaves, and that those flowers are open and not in bud (the sniff test will help here, can you smell that delicious honey fragrance? If not then it's not ready!). One method of gathering is to use a pair of scissors to give the heather plant a ‘light trim’, another is to sweep your fingers along the stems, gently removing the flowers between your finger and thumb. 

Flowers can be dropped off at Nunton, and if you aren't delivering them within hours of picking them please freeze them in a plastic bag with the air squeezed out until you can get them to us. This also means you don't have to pick your whole batch at once, and can store up smaller amounts until you have the weight you want. 

Don't forget to follow best foraging practise by taking no more than 10% of the flowers from any one plant! Please also be tick aware, as moors are the perfect place to pick up these unwanted passengers. Long sleeves and long trousers are sensible, as is a thorough inspection of your nooks and crannies after you’re done. 

Happy picking! 

close up of tiny heather blossoms on a wooden board, the words 'thank you' typed over the image
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