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Thoughts from category: ingredients

if you go down to the woods today

And those woods happen to be in Poland, you might find a forest floor filled with blueberries

Blueberry morning

Rozanne and Dan have just returned from a berry sourcing adventure across Eastern Europe, where they tasted an array of berry shaped fruit.

Forest

Howver, before they got to actually taste any berries, they first had several mini adventures along the way.

Berry carpet

After being greeted by a dog on the runway, hiring a car that sounded like a hairdryer and picking up a speeding ticket in the first twenty minutes of driving, they then got hideously lost (thanks to a self-programming sat nav system) and had to wait by some woods in the middle of the night for our suppliers to pick them up.

Blueberriesbynight

When our suppliers finally arrived, Rozanne and Dan were then driven through pitch black forests at 180kph in a blacked out Audi, plied with vodka, potatoes and breadcrumbed meat and made to sing along to Russian pop. And that's not even taking into account the 7 hour border crossing, rigourous strip search (of the blowdrying car) and more money changing hands they had to endure, all in the name of finding the best berries for our smoothies.

It was all worth it when they got there though as they got to taste loads of berries and meet this excellent chap

Blueberry bill

He is in charge of about twenty or so berry collection points, which is where all the farmers turn up each day, in Fiat Pandas laden with fruit to be sent further afield.

Collection point

Here are Dan and Rozanne sampling some berries

Dan and rozanne

And here they are post berry-buying-vodka-toasting-high-speed-driving-traffic-police-bribing antics, playing catch up kip.

Disco kip

Berry buying at it's finest.

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?

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.

no spelt yet

You may have already had a go on our new break time thickie. It's called 'break time' because it fills you up nicely, so is perfect for supping after a tough game of scarecrow tig. Anyway, some of you may have read that this drink contains something called spelt, which is a type of wholegrain.

Well, we just wanted to say that it doesn't contain spelt, yet. It was going to, but the spelt we were going to use was playing up a bit. So we took it out of the recipe, went back to the kitchen and kept on fiddling. In the mean time, the recipe has hit the shelves and contains a whole heap of wholegrains, in the shape of good old reliable oats.

We're working really hard with the spelt people to get the issue resolved. And as soon as we have figured out these pesky grains, they'll be in that recipe, or our name's not Monkey Juice Inc.