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Thoughts from category: fruit

mango time

Alphonso

Atha, Siobhan and Sustainability Jess have just come back from a mango sourcing trip to India and they brought some back for us all to try.

Mango

The mangoes we use in our smoothies are called Alphonso mangoes (after a chap called Alphonso De Albuquerque who used to buy loads of them whenever he was in Goa). We use them for their velvety texture, delicate aroma and extremely fragrant taste. You don't tend to find them in the supermarket that often as their skin is very delicate but you can occasionally find them in little shops. If you're lucky.

According to Siobhan, once you've tasted an Alphonso, you can never go back.

To other mangoes that is.

Not to work/your desk/that report you're meant to have finished yesterday.

Mango chat

win your own fruit garden

January.

Rain. Grey. More rain. Not much incentive to go outside.

Thankfully, the good people at Rocket Gardens are a jolly sort and have given us a very good reason to get out, keep fit and assuage our biscuit cravings by doing a spot of gardening.

Blueberries

You see, right now is the perfect time of year to start planting soft fruit in preparation for crumbles, summer puds and jam making.

And they've very kindly given us 10 of their compact fruit gardens and 10 of their large fruit gardens to give away.

All you need to do to bag yourself one is tell us your most memorable fruit pie/crumble/pudding experience.

Post your answers below by Monday 26th January and come next autumn, you could be running your very own black market fruit pie operation (with a nice sideline in preserves).

(This competition has now closed.

Congratualtions to Big Tom, Sammy, Karen, Rachael, Susan F, Ian, Soo, Julie Lee, Steph, Emma, Lulu, Stephen Armstrong, Esther, Sarah Bruch, Anita, Ook, Davkt, Simone, Lindsay and Abby Bookham. Gardens on their way to you very very soon).

the price of fruit

Value is important.

True_value

And when it comes to making our smoothies, we like to make sure you're getting the best value for your hard earned money. So we conducted a little experiment the other week to check we're doing just that.

Lucy T went off to the supermarket and bought the exact ingredients needed to make a litre of our strawberries and bananas recipe and a litre of our mangoes and passion fruits recipe.

To make 1 litre of our strawberry and bananas recipe using shop bought fruit cost £4.71 whilst making a litre of mangoes and passion fruits cost £6.35.

Homemade

For those of you who like graphs and charts to illustrate such points, here's one we made earlier:

Fruitgraph

So, there's the proof - it's cheaper to buy one of our smoothies than getting all of the fruit yourself and making it at home.

Another good fact - at the recommended retail price of £2.99 a pop, you can still enjoy our big cartons at the very same price they were when we first launched them over 4 years ago.

And it goes without saying that our fruit is ethically sourced and the finest tasting stuff out there.

Who says we don't treat you right?

boysenberry tales from the land of hazelnuts

Our Sam has just come back from the States where she's been learning everything there is to know about boysenberries.

For those of you who have never seen a boysenberry in the flesh before, they look like a Sumo blackberry and are thought to be a cross between a loganberry, blackberry and raspberry (though no one is really sure).

Here's an nice shot of some boysenberries in the early morning sunshine.

Boysenberry_bush

We get our boysenberries from the Willamette Valley in Oregon, a beautiful and extremely fertile area where they also grow hazelnuts, grass seed and Christmas trees. A handy place to be if you're planning on making a hazelnut and grass seed boysenberry pie in December.

Williamette_valley

And here's a photo of Sam during boysenberry harvest, looking slightly confused

Hmm

The reason she's looking a little dazed is that it was rather early in the morning when this photograph was taken.

One of the biggest threat to berries is field heat, so instead of picking them in the middle of the day when it's very hot, the berries are harvested at night when it's much cooler. That way, they're picked at their best and are sorted immediately by the side of the field to ensure the freshest, tastiest crop possible.

Boysen_sorting

It's all done mechanically as it's quite difficult to tell by eye when a boysenberry is ripe. The fruit tends to colour up very quickly so it's hard to know which berries are ready and which ones aren't. The machine has a comb-n-shake type action, which means the ripe berries get shaken off and the less ripe ones get to stay in the sun that little bit longer.

You can have a go at shaking your own boysenberries here, though combing smoothie through your hair afterwards is not recommended.

this season's berries

Berries

Sustainability Jess and Rozanne went to Serbia in July to check out our raspberries and blackberries. Naturally, we're striving to only buy the very best berries for our smoothies, and they were there to make sure that we're buying them from farms that look after their workers and the environment.

Jessroz

The farms we buy our berries from are typically very small family farms – only 0.1-0.2 hectares. They grow a mixture of different crops: maize for feeding animals, plums for local markets and making schnapps, vegetables for the family and berries for some income.

Farm

These farms have been with the same families for generations, and they know exactly which crops to plant where to make the most of the natural environment (sun access, types of soils, water etc). The picking of the berries is mostly done by family and friends.

Hay

Serbia is a pretty interesting place. Not only do they have amazing berries, but they also hosted the Eurovision song contest earlier this year, have the tallest hay bales in Europe, and make some pretty spooky pottery.

Pottery

Overall, Jess and Rozanne were really happy with what they found, and feel confident that only the best berries are making it into our blackberries, raspberries and boysenberries smoothie.

Homebrew

And once the hard work was done, they celebrated by drinking a few litres of homemade schnapps with this farmer. Those girls sure know how to party.