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Thoughts from author: Anna Clare

get your trowels out

The grey days are a bit less grey and the hot water bottle isn't seeing as much action as it used to. It can only mean one thing: winter is on the way out and spring is in. 

This week we've been braving the spidery corner of the shed and unearthing our spade and fork set so we can start messing about in the garden. That's how we came across this handy infographic from Wayfair, which is a guide to growing your own superfoods:

Grow Your Own Superfoods

There's no excuse not to pack in the globe artichoke and goji berries now. In fact, we might put a word in with the ladies in our products kitchen and see if we can borrow their blender. The next big smoothie recipe, we reckon.

Our Oscars predictions

The Oscars. The night we all suddenly find out we have strong opinions about films we've never seen (or have any intention of seeing). The night the words 'glitz & glam' get used on social media more frequently than at any other time of year. Here are our predictions for what might happen on the day:

1.     It will be broadcast on television.

2.     Women will wear clothes that some people like and others don’t. Their opinions will be made known and this will lead to a further discussion.

3.     The third Oscar selfie will be taken and, coincidentally, it will be two thirds less amusing than it was the first time.

4.     97% of the winners will be humbled.

5.     One attendees’ outfit will be worth more than a family home in Dorset.

6.     The carpet will be referred to as red but, on screen, it’ll actually look closer to burgundy.  

7.     79% of winners wouldn’t have been able to do it without their fans and will be incredibly thankful for their support.

8.     Men will wear suits and no one will have anything further to say about them.

9.     45% of winners will hold their award in the air and say “wow”.

10. Everyone’s teeth will be a shade of white we didn’t think was achievable for human teeth.

11. One of the results will be mildly surprising and people will express their mild surprise on social media.

12. If you’re watching it with someone else they’ll say “I had a feeling that one would win it” despite what they said half an hour before.

13. Designer clothes that a famous person is wearing will sell out in ‘seconds’ during the ceremony.

14. Someone will sing at some point.

15. The host will divide opinion and different news outlets will have different takes on how offensive they actually were.

16. Leo will win the Oscar/won’t win the Oscar and Twitter will make a year’s worth of profits off the back of it.

17. Leo will win the Oscar/won’t win the Oscar and Buzzfeed will create a number of GIF based articles to replay the moment that he did/didn’t win the Oscar.

18. The camera will pan to a celebrity looking bored and they will quickly change their expression when they realise they’re being filmed.

19. 69% of winners “just didn’t expect this”.

20. The whole thing will go on for a bit too long. You might go to bed before the end or turn over to watch the news.

we like them pineapples

Pineapples are great. Not only do they put the ‘pina’ in ‘pina colada’, they also inspired the hairstyle our mum wouldn’t let us leave the house with in the 90’s. Oh, and they taste really great in our recipes too. Bonus.

We have a special team of people here at innocent who make sure that only the best quality fruit makes it into our bottles. So, last year, our George and Maria visited a pineapple farm in Costa Rica to learn more about how our pineapples are grown.

 

Costa Rica is the perfect place to grow our pineapples because, due to its proximity to the equator, it enjoys both a lot of sunshine and a lot of rain. Might not be an ideal mix if you’re there for a beach holiday but, luckily for us, it’s the perfect climate for growing tasty tropical fruit. The sun and rain combo also ensures that our pineapples can be grown and harvested all year round because the fields are planted one day and then harvested 12 months later in a staggered pattern meaning that there are pineapples on hand at all times (excellent news).

What George and Maria learnt about pineapples

When a pineapple grows, a ‘seed’ grows alongside the pineapple. These seeds are then planted six inches apart on top of small earth mounds:

 

The planters work as teams and, in an 8 hour shift, each worker can plant a staggering five thousand plants, which equates to over ten per minute.

 

When the pineapple grows, it grows on top of the plant:

 

From these baby plants the adult plants grow and, over twelve months, the pineapples grow to the size we’re used to seeing them in the shops.

Oh, and if you’re really lucky, you might even see a pineapple with a double crown. That’s as rare as a four leaf clover in the pineapple growing world (probably) so our George and Maria were pretty lucky to catch a glimpse of one on their travels:

 

We’re really proud of the pineapples we put into our drinks and think they’re definitely worth travelling all the way to Costa Rica for. In fact, let’s raise one of these to the toughest-looking yet sweetest fruit of them all. Like a Harley rider with a heart of gold. Or something.

how to win over your colleagues

There are few different sure-fire ways to become popular at work:

1.) Always volunteer for the tea round

2.) Notice when someone gets a new haircut/jumper/child

3.) Always have chewing gum at your desk

4.) Provide co-workers with unexpected free stuff

That last one works especially well and, as it happens, you can now sign up your whole office for a delivery of free super smoothies if you work in London, Bristol, Liverpool, Manchester,Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, Nottingham or Leicester.

new innocent super smoothies 

Simply email seasonsfreetings@innocentdrinks.co.uk telling us where you work, and that glory and everlasting office popularity could be yours. And the corner office with the big window. Just saying.

Mango go go

Our Catherine and Marta recently travelled to India to visit the people who supply our mangoes. As well as tasting the new season mangoes, this trip gave them the opportunity to see how our suppliers are getting on with our five point sustainability plan. The farmers in the region were struggling with lower mango yields so we started a project in partnership with the University of Konkan to address some of the challenges they were facing. We wanted to find sustainable ways to make the mango trees as strong and resilient as possible, so that they could still produce high mango yields despite the changing climate.

While they were out there, Catherine kept a travel log of some of things she and Marta got up to, and what they learned about our mangoes along the way:


Catherine's Log

As I’m quite new to the team, this was my first time going over to India and I was very excited to see the mango farms for myself and find out how everything worked. After an overnight flight, we landed in a very sticky but stunning Mumbai and started the long car journey to our first supplier (easily the bumpiest car ride I've ever been on). It was fascinating to drive into the country, away from the big cities, and see the real India. It was hot, hectic and just as colourful as I’d hoped it would be and the views from the window definitely made up for the bumps in the road.

When we arrived at our first supplier, we started learning about all the work they do with the farmers to improve yields and the new planting techniques they have been trying out, which they needed to implement in order to adapt to the changing climate affecting their fruit. The farms have now started experimenting with different planting, pruning and irrigation techniques. By keeping the trees smaller, the mangoes are easier to pluck and, therefore, the trees yield much more fruit.

 

The scenery was stunning as we drove to our next supplier – filled with lush tropical trees and greenery. When we arrived, we had a go at picking some mangoes ourselves as all of the mangoes on the farms are hand-plucked using a basket on the end of a stick. The equipment looks very simple, but is excellent at getting the job done. Here’s one of our pickers in action:

 

Once they've been picked, the mangoes are washed, placed into bowls, sorted, sent to be ripened and then turned into puree.

One of the most exciting moments of the trip was when we met the king of mangoes himself – the lovely Badrul, who stars in our British TV ads. He doesn’t speak English but we used a translator to tell him that we were really happy to meet him and that he was famous in the UK.

 

We reckon he should've been wearing this shirt when we made the ad (maybe one to consider for next time).

After visiting the suppliers, we’re chuffed to see that our sustainability plan is starting to make a real difference to the way the farmers in the region grow their fruit. We use mango in lots of our recipes (including this and this) and we really hope you think they’re as tasty as we do.