FRAMED IN TIME

Pick-your-own is big business across large swathes of Scotland, including parts of the Borders – although this year’s dismal summer has been a bit of a set back.

Our picture from the past this week comes courtesy of the archives at the Heritage Hub in Hawick and shows a large team of harvesters who weren’t picking their own but were out to earn a wage.

Berry picking time provided a welcome wage boost to many families with young and old joining in the toil. Many were locals but harvest time also attracted itinerant workers. This group was photographed on a farm near Gordon in 1920 – and look at the size of the brimmed hats worn to provide protection from the sun.

Raspberries are regarded as the national fruit in Scotland. Scottish raspberries are world renowned for bursting with flavour. They were first grown commercially in Scotland at the beginning of the 20th century when a group of Angus fruit growers decided to shift production from strawberries to rasps and formed a co-operative. When soldiers returned from the First World War, they were gifted plots of land by wealthy landowners to cultivate, and many decided to grow raspberries which suited the temperate climate.

Today berry farms can be found in Tayside, the Highlands, Arran, Ayrshire and of course the Borders. In bygone days, once the berry season was over, the tattie howking was eagerly looked forward to. Many schools closed for a month in October to allow pupils to take to the fields. The howking is mostly done now by machines and but small squads are still put together on some farms.

– Compiled by Bob Burgess