Scarletts Scotland

Rhubarb

Growth and Harvest

Scarletts (Scotland) grow and harvest rhubarb in the amazingly fertile Strathmore valley in Perthshire. This area has a rich heritage of growing soft fruit and rhubarb over many decades due to the ideal soil and weather conditions.

We grow two varieties. Timperley Early and Red Champagne. The first harvest of Timperley is usually in April and we can continue to pull stalks until Autumn. Red Champagne is usually 4-6 weeks later and goes on until first frosts. We do not pull all the stalks. Some have to be left to allow the crowns to rejuvenate and expand for the following year. We try to pull the youngest juiciest stalks and simply cut the leaves off. They are then bagged the same day, if possible, and labelled with the variety, harvest date and best before date. We can also supply loose in any kilogram quantity required.

It should be kept refrigerated to prolong the shelf life.

We grew the rhubarb originally as part of our honey business. Firstly to use in one of our products and then, after some new research came to light, as a biological control for the varroa mite. This is a parasitic mite that has a devastating effect on the bee population within the hive. Rhubarb leaves contain high levels of naturally occurring oxalic acid (do not eat them!) and this has been found to be an effective control for varroa. The leaves are sandwiched between the boxes containing the bees and as the bees try to remove them the oxalic acid is released into the hive as a gas killing the mites.