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Thoughts from category: fruit

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.

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. 

Sourcing our strawberries

Strawberries. Whether they’re foraged at a pick-your-own, served with a side of cream at the tennis or crushed lovingly into our drinks, they’re pretty delicious. To make sure that only the finest fruit makes it into our recipes, our berry team travel to sunny Southern Spain every April to see for themselves how our fruit is grown.

 

After several years of buying Spanish strawberries, we’ve managed to build our very own innocent supply chain in the region. This ensures that only the farmers who grow their strawberries sustainably – the innocent approved growers - are able to supply the fruit for our drinks. 

For the last 5 years, we’ve been working with farmers in the region on a project to reduce the amount of water used to grow their strawberries.  The project has been so successful that we’re now sharing the findings with other farmers in the region, and have made a short film about it (which we’ll be sharing very soon).

We are very fussy about which strawberries make it into our drinks – we only use the very best and tastiest. We are so fussy that we even have a special label that our growers stick on the pallets to show which strawberries have the special innocent stamp of approval.

 

During their visit, the berry team look at lots of different areas of the strawberry growing and picking process; from the big stuff, such as making sure that workers have decent accommodation and food and water throughout the day, to making sure the trays that the strawberries are harvested into are super clean.

We will keep striving to make sure that our strawberries, and the people that grow them, are well taken care of because sourcing delicious fruit ethically is at the heart of the way we do things here at innocent (and always will be).

And at the end of a long day, it’s great to see we can source the best strawberries while working on protecting the environment too.

Considering Clementines

Clementines and mandarins. Both small, both orange, both delicious. Both excellent for pretending you’re a giant holding a regular sized orange. And now both blended together in our new clementine and mandarin juice. It just made sense.

Here at innocent, we have a dedicated team of people who travel around the world selecting the cream of the fruit crop for our drinks, whilst making sure it’s all sourced sustainably. A few months back, we asked the team to find us some clementines and mandarins to squeeze into our new recipe. Always up for a challenge, our George and Robin headed off to sunshiney Spain to find the very best clementines and mandarins the country had to offer.

 

While they were there, they discovered that Spanish farmers actually call clementines the ‘king of the mandarins’ because of its sweet taste and general deliciousness. We tasted them and had to agree, which is why we always make sure that our juice is 80% clementine.

George and Robin also went to look in on some research that is currently being conducted into how the clementine harvesting window could be extended. The picture below shows a farm at the research facility where they are attempting to cross pollinate different varieties in order to create a clementine that could be harvested in either October or March.

 

They haven’t quite cracked it yet, but we’ll be sure to let you know when they do.

In the meantime, we think it’s about clemen-time you gave our juice a go. Sorry. But not that sorry.