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Thoughts from author: Anna Clare

messing about as boats

When you hold a desert island themed fancy dress party, you assume most people will grab a Hawaiian shirt and stick a flower in their hair. You don’t expect a whole team to come dressed as a pirate ship, complete with side cannons and a golden body painted figurehead, but that’s exactly what our Contract Management Team decided to do. 

Our Sam was asked to dress as ‘starboard’ so his wife, Mrs Woollet who teaches class Cedar 3 at Highwood Primary School, helped put his costume together. Her class were very disappointed that Sam’s bit of the boat didn’t win a prize (we forgot to award any) so they made a few themselves. 

 

Great mateys, the lot of you.

fruit fishing in Costa Rica

A few weeks back, Mario and Easton from our Fruit Team travelled over to sunny Costa Rica in search of the best tasting bananas, oranges and pineapples to crush into our drinks.

 

First stop: bananas. Here they are growing upwards on the trees, casually defying gravity.

 

While a lot of plants are happy to sit about in the soil twiddling their thumbs all year, bananas are actually walking plants. In one banana plant there are three generations; the grandmother, who produces the first bunch of tasty bananas, the mother who gives the next bunch and several sons who grow at the bottom, next to the mother. The farmer will choose the son in the best location and the family will rotate every year. They end up walking about forty centimetres, which isn’t quite a marathon winning pace but is still pretty good for a plant.

Mario and Easton didn’t mess about when it came to their own walking either. One of the farms they visited was the size of 3000 football pitches, and contained 412,000 orange trees (we don’t think they managed to see them all).

And, if you thought that was impressive, another farm they stopped at was growing 46,800,000 pineapples at various stages of maturity. That's a lot of pineapples.

 

If you fancy getting your own pineapple population going, you can plant one in the garden by cutting off the crown, removing some of the lower leaves and popping it in the ground. The only downside is you’ll need warm and sunny conditions (good luck), and patience as they take about twelve months to grow.

So, unless you’ve got a spare pineapple sauna lying about and a bit of time to kill before next summer, it’s probably best to leave the growing to us.

saying hola to our strawberries

We use a lot of different fruits in our drinks. Pretty much all of them, actually (if you don’t count the weird ones you sometimes get with posh desserts). To make sure that we’re only ever putting the best tasting ingredients into our drinks, we go out and visit our farmers during the season of each fruit to make sure everything meets our standards and that the farm is ship shape from a technical, safety, quality and sustainability point of view. April means strawberry season in Spain so our Elodie and Lotte went over a couple of weeks back to pay a visit to our sunny Spanish farms.

 

While on their travels, they met with Pepe, one of our farmers. He has been working at the farm for more than thirty years and is really passionate about his work. Elodie and Lotte had the chance to try a few of his strawberries and can confirm that they were delicious (and would make a lovely pair of earrings). 

 

While the strawberries are in season, one plant will flower an average of eight times and it takes roughly twenty one days between the flower blossoming and picking an actual strawberry that we can use in our drinks. We don’t mind waiting around a bit for the perfect berry and we know they’re ready when they’ve grown large, orangey-red and sweet with a jammy flavour.

 

While we’re very picky about the taste of our berries, we aren’t picky about what they look like. We're happy to include all the weirdly shaped strawberries that the fresh market doesn’t want, which means there’s pretty much no waste.

Berry-illiant.

and the award goes to...

 

We don’t normally like to go on about all the awards we’ve won (except on this page dedicated to all the awards we’ve won) but we’re really proud to say that the innocent foundation has just picked up a Better Society award for their work with Action Against Hunger

Together they’ve launched a ground-breaking project that aims to stop children dying from severe hunger all around the world by transforming access to treatment services. By empowering community health workers to diagnose and treat children at home, rather than expecting their parents to walk up to 40km to the nearest clinic every week for treatment, they can tackle undernutrition head on.

If you’d like to find out a bit more about all the awesome stuff they've achieved so far, you can have a read here.

jasper's sustainability round-up

Jasper is our office superman. That means he does all of the tricky practical jobs that crop up around Fruit Towers and generally keeps everything ship shape. Since the start of the year, he’s been working on a project to make the office as sustainable as it can possibly be. We thought some of his successes were worth shouting about, so here are a few of the highlights:

 

The gas we use to power the boilers will soon be super green and we will be using 100% biogas from 1 August. This is a major win as most gas contracts only offer a 10% biogas rate. The biomethane we will be using is generated from smelly stuff like organic matter and manure. However, it is essentially scrubbed and cleaned before being put back into the national grid so don’t worry - we won’t have any farm smells coming from our boilers just yet.

From 1 August we will also start a new electricity contract and will be able to choose exactly which renewable suppliers give us our energy, be it a wind turbine in the Quantocks or a hydroplant in Wales. The 100% renewable energy we use can therefore be tracked and we can even create an energy trail, working out exactly how far our electricity has travelled to get to us.

From the beginning of May we will have LED lighting in the front and back staircases and the loos. This is one of the most ecological systems we can use and reduces our energy use and costs.

We’ve replaced our courier service with Green Couriers, a sustainable and ultra-green company. All of the bright green vehicles that Green Courier use are at the very least low-emission, but will often be ultra-low emission hybrids and 100% electric vehicles.

The Bugrassi Veyron, our new little grassy van, is running on the latest Euro 6 engine with significantly reduced emissions. We are working on the rest.

 

We have been working with the Goldfinger Factory, a community furniture workshop based underneath the Trellick Tower (just down the road from Fruit Towers) that have been recently involved with designing a range with Tom Dixon. Jasper has been using them to reuse and up-cycle old furniture, our old benches went to a vocational school in Fulham and they built our second Big Knit crate out of re-used plywood.

Our waste collections are now managed by First Mile, a company with the capacity to recycle 99% of our office waste. They have been turning our food waste and compost into renewable energy and fertiliser and taking our mixed recycling to a state of the art facility in Bow where it is then sorted and sent on to be turned into brand new shiny things. Even our general waste is sorted and then incinerated to produce energy and heat. Nothing goes to landfill so we are leaving no trace behind us.

 

Additionally they have the ability to send us reports letting us know our exact recycling rate, how many tonnes of CO2 we have saved and even how many trees we have saved through our recycling efforts. They are currently also doing magical things like turning our coffee grounds into biomass pellets and briquettes.

 

Some of our new chairs are made by a company called Solidwool. Each chair is made from the sustainably produced wool of one Herdwick Sheep and is combined with a bio-resin made of 30% renewable content. Solidwool have pioneered a material that champions the beauty of British wool, unfortunately a product with barely any demand. By combining the wool with wood from Somerset and fabricating the chairs in their Devon workshop they have created a truly British product which also just happens to look rather nice in our meeting rooms.

Jasper has definitely been keeping our office green, and he assures us he has even more sustainable plans up his banana covered sleeve for the future. Cheers, Jasper. For this, and for agreeing to climb into a bin for a photo opportunity.